I’ve mentioned before that London is very well-suited to getting around on foot. Sure, it needs to accommodate masses of tourists safely, but you’ll find that it is highly pedestrian-friendly for its locals citywide. This is something you’ll be grateful for once you’ve made your London move and need to deal with it on a daily basis.
If you have ever visited London, surely one of the first aspects of traffic that you’ve noticed is that automobiles are driven on the left side of the street. This inevitably sets itself up as a hazard when Northern Americans, Continental Europeans, and visitors of other nations in which one drives on the right side have the reflex of looking in the wrong direction of traffic when trying to cross the street. To blatantly assist with this problem, you will notice the words “Look Left” and “Look Right” literally painted onto the road at the edge of the sidewalks in the city center. In outer neighbourhoods, even though tourism is not as high, there are still large arrows painted onto the lanes–these confused me at first, as I intuitively thought the arrows pointed in the direction traffic flowed, but it’s actually pointing counter to that in the direction you should look to know where it’s coming from.
As in most cities, there are buttons you can press at the stoplight to get a “Walk” sign to light up for you at an intersection. Yet a regular feature on the streets here that is not-so common elsewhere is the zebra stripes, i.e., pedestrian crossings (indicated by parallel white stripes) that cross the road at a location other than the intersection. These are supplemented with a black-and-white pole with a round yellow light that flashes at the top, and cars are required to stop there if pedestrians are present. And if you’re having any remote difficulty picturing what I’m talking about, just think The Beatles’ Abbey Road. This album cover has resulted in non-stop tourists seeking the road out in St. John’s Wood to have their picture snapped at the legendary location.
And as is the case in most places you travel, there’s usually a pedestrian road sign or two that stirs up a giggle. In the UK, this one to the lower right is the one that does it for me:
If you don’t care for your commute to involve too much walking after you move to London, London Relocation Ltd. is always sure to find you a flat within easy walking distance of public transportation. The thing with this city, though, is that you’ll find yourself wanting to ditch the bus or tube for a nice stroll around, especially on those elusive sunny days. It’s a city made for walking, so you’ll feel footloose and fancy-free! 🙂