Walkability matters! More and more, studies show us that walkability is critical for health, wealth, and community growth. Organisations like the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as health boards across North America, are demonstrating a strong link between community design and total physical activity. This link is especially important as rates of obesity, in particular child obesity, and other lifestyle illnesses rise, resulting in an alarming prediction that our children will have a lifespan five years less than their parents.
Studies (Good for Business) also show that houses located within strolling distance of shops and services command a price premium and retain their value more than in less walkable areas. Walkability translates directly into reduced crime, improved traffic safety, and economic viability for local businesses. The emotional bond to where you live, achieved by bumping into neighbours or simply waving hello, improves neighbourhood safety.
For many, the notion of walkability means the easy distance to shops, schools, and services, and while people won’t walk if there is nothing to walk to, there are a number of other features that create a walkable neighbourhood. Connections to a network of sidewalks and pathways with plenty of intersections, interesting human-scaled buildings, street trees and parks, and a higher density of housing and population all contribute to the walking experience.
To connect residents to vital amenities, City Council recently adopted standards for new communities, requiring tree-lined sidewalks on both sides of the street. While retrofitting existing communities to be more pedestrian friendly can be a slow process, portions of the transportation budget have been redirected to gradually improve links to transit. Calgary is heading in the right direction.
This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.