Commuting to work and school can seem like the most arduous daily trips we make and therefore draw our attention. In reality, they account for just a fraction of our daily travel. The majority of our travel is for social, recreational, shopping or other purposes. Providing opportunities in our communities for people to socialize, participate in activities or purchase goods, is a simple way to promote the use of active transportation, since destinations would be shorter and more easily reached via walking or cycling.
In order to entice people to shop and play locally, however, we need to look at what we provide in the way of destinations. Are there shops with goods that people want and need? Are there activities for various age groups and abilities? Have we provided places for people to sit down and rest, either alone or with others? Are there open spaces with grass for picnics or play spaces for children?
A growing number of communities in Calgary have been working to make their neighbourhoods more people friendly, with weekly events such as farmers markets, art installations or little free libraries, tables and chairs or other informal seating. These are just a few examples of how we can begin to create destinations for people to walk or cycle to, that will ultimately build the active, vibrant, and liveable neighbourhoods we want for our communities.
Roxanne LeBlanc, BSW, MSc is an avid cyclist and is a member of the Active Neighborhoods project’s steering committee.
Check back next week for an update on the Active Neighbourhoods project’s progress and more info on our upcoming Walk and Talks. In the interim, check out the energizing Happy Commuting Playlist we’ve been assembling to kickstart your morning commute.