My entire work day yesterday was spent talking about transportation. Which is strange, because my job has very little to do with transportation (in the traditional sense anyway… I write stewardship plans for conservation areas). But I’ve been chosen to work on my company’s strategic plan – which I’m very excited about, I’m a bit of strategic planning geek – and our theme is transportation.
It’s been a really interesting process so far – we’ve talked about traditional transportation (road planning, highways, emergency response, etc…), more progressive transportation (transit, carpooling, telecommuting) as well as active transportation (cycling, walking) which is more my area of focus (trails). Our group has some big thinkers, and we’ve had great discussions about the importance of community design to sustainable transportation. For instance, walkability. A community needs to be designed in such a way that all of your needs, be it school, work, shopping, or play, are all within walking distance. Neighbourhoods need to include access to to transit, natural spaces, public spaces, etc… The more “walkable” your community, the less you’ll need to drive, and the fewer roads and highways we need to build.
As I work through this strategic plan, I’m always looking for interesting case studies that will help in our thinking. Municipal walkability studies, integrated transit plans, active transportation plans, etc… If you have any ideas, or know of groups doing this kind of work, pass them along. Some cool ones that I’ve been turned on to so far include:
- CivicAction – http://www.civicaction.ca/steering-committees
- Where the Sidewalk Begins
- Walkability studies in Vancouver, Waterloo, Toronto (not to mention the walkability feature on Property Guys!)
In order to line my blog post up with my day, my green resolution for today will be to make a commitment to walkability. We’re shopping for a home in Guelph, and are committed to buying a house within walking distance of downtown, good parks, and my daughter’s daycare. It means our pool of prospective houses is shallow, but we’re committed to resisting the temptation to buy one of the less expensive, more abundant “cookie cutter” houses in the subdivisions on the outskirts of town. While we might get more house that way, we know the cost to our day-to-day lifestyle will be too high. So, loyal readers, you can keep me honest on this one, and as the weeks of house hunting continue, remind me why we are committed to walkability as a key feature of our next happy home!