#4: Feb. 24, 2020: Healthy Communities Promote Walking
Walking in Brandon
A Pedestrian Perspective on Transportation Infrastructure and Maintenance
Part 1: Snow Removal
Brandon has the potential to be a very healthy community. It has many advantages. It is small, about 50000 people and a six kilometre walk takes you from one end to the other. A network of bike / walk paths, while not perfectly connected encourage walking and biking. It lies along a river – with notable tributaries entering just a ways upstream and downstream – plenty of paddling opportunities close at hand.
It’s a city small enough that one feels change could be undertaken, be manageable.
I would like to suggest that Brandon needs a "Walking in Brandon Committee", that would review and examine both existing and future developments to ensure that environmentally friendly modes of transportation are encouraged and supported.
The key to doing this would be to make sure that any decision-making group has members who regularly choose to walk, bike, and/or take public transportation as they go about their daily business. The key is "daily business". As an example, people who bike for recreation have different priorities and needs from those who bike to work, or to shop.
Brandon is a very car-friendly city, and that's OK. What we need to do as we move forward is think about making it a "sustainable transportation city". This is complex and we may need to re-think some of our habits. The good news is that we're well-positioned to take the necessary steps. Most citizens live relatively close to where they work, shop and play. Walking and biking is realistic here for almost everyone - we needn't be fitness freaks and marathon runners. We already have pretty good sidewalks and bike paths in many areas.
We're ready for the next step - making Brandon the ideal place to start ending our reliance on the car.
To give an example of just a few of the things one should consider, I offer a little tour of just one part of our city. My tour took place in the winter - which is important because we don't want to make environmentally friendly transportation initiatives just a summer thing.
I don't think we need to spend a fortune to address many of the issues I bring up. Instead I think the important thing is that we start seeing the infrastructure though the eyes of someone who, through choice or circumstance, isn't driving a car.
I start with what I think is an obvious place to begin a transformation to a pedestrian friendly environment.
It's really simple. Clear the damn sidewalks!
The Sportsplex and Kirkcaldy School
These photos tell the tale….
The Sportsplex seems fairly car friendly - but try walking to it in the winter.
The frontage for our showcase actvity centre is usually a disgrace.
The pedestrian entrance. What does this photo say about priorities?
Students walking to Kirkcaldy from the south often face this!
Are we almost forcing parents to drive their kids to school?
This neighbourhood has sidewalks. They are very useful in the summer, but often treacherous in the winter. In Brandon we spend millions maintaining roads, and first thing we should do if we are serious about promoting healthy transportation is do a better job of clearing our sidewalks in the winter.
This week's inspiration....
Cars drive us crazy, so let’s park them for good
"It is considered a right, although curiously unmentioned in our Charter, that every citizen should be allowed to barrel through the city as quickly as possible, unimpeded by yellow lights, slower vehicles, children in crosswalks or parents pushing strollers."
Ken Storie (20.03.02)