31 May 2011

A Walkable City

One of the great pleasures in my life is walking with my dog along the Fraser River, at Riverfront Park. There is a path that starts just east of the Knight Road bridge and follows the river to Boundary Road, where it becomes the riverside path that follows the river further along to Marshlands near the edge of New Westminster. I never tire of watching the working river, or looking for the beaver and the river otter that occasionally swim by. The scenery is magnificent, no matter what the season. Just up the hill off Kerr street is Everett Crowley park which sits on the old dump. Here trails meander around an area that has been left to regenerate naturally. Also in the neighbourhood is the Fraserview golf course with a fabulous perimeter path. On any of these paths it is easy to pretend you are out of the city and walking in a natural landscape.

Unfortunately not all areas of the city are conducive for walking. Also in my neighbourhood is Elliott st. From Marine Drive to near 54th ave, Elliott winds its way up a steep hill. There is neither a bus nor sidewalks along this part of the street. Pedestrians must take their life in their hands and walk along the roadway. Being very steep, most of the cars descending the hill go much faster than the posted limit. To this mix add a designated bicycle route along Elliott and you have a pedestrian fatality waiting to happen.

New bicycle routes are popping up throughout the city, yet we still have streets without sidewalks. I applaud the city for their emphasis on getting people out of their cars and into alternate transportation modes, but the most environmentally friendly mode for the vast majority of Vancouverites is walking. We need to do far more to make walking easier and more attractive. Most people will not ride bicycles, but they will walk given the opportunity.

The Park Board is doing its part to get people out of their cars and walking, but is the city doing its?

1 comment:

  1. Well said Stuart. Walking is a better option for so many people. Glad you are talking this up!