Westworld Alberta

Fall 2014

Westworld Alberta

Issue link: http://westworldmagazine.ama.ab.ca/i/365611

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Page 35 of 63

36 W e s t W o r l d a l b e r t a | f a l l 2 0 1 4 henry georgi/all canada photos I an Hosler used to crawl out of bed at 5 a.m. each weekday in his suburban Edmonton home. He'd walk his dog, scarf a quick, bleary- eyed breakfast and hit the road for his 45-minute drive to work, downtown. By the time his daughter turned five, he and his wife realized that between their commutes, activi- ties and household errands, they were spending nearly all of their off-work time in their vehicles. "We finally said 'enough is enough,'" Hosler says. He took out a pencil and a map. He drew a circle around his office that represented easy walking distance. en he took the map to his real estate agent and found a house inside the circle. It was older than the one he owned, and the foundation was cracked, but Hosler didn't care. As he puts it, "I bought a neighbourhood, not a house." Six years later, Hosler is the program coordina- tor for Walkable Edmonton, a municipal initiative dedicated to making the city friendlier for the increasing numbers of people who want to walk. While he hasn't gone completely car-free, he com- mutes mainly on foot, and he's able to replace many of the short trips he used to make in his vehicle – errand running and the like – with walking. He's in good company. Since 2005, Edmonton's downtown, where most residents seeking a walkable lifestyle gravitate, has experienced population growth of more than 35 per cent. In Calgary, a whopping 37 per cent say that in their ideal neighbourhood, they would be able to walk to work. Another 18 per cent say they'd rather take transit than drive. In other words, the way urban Albertans want to live is changing. More and more, they're choosing to live in walkable communities. A walkable community is one where residents can reach a wide range of amenities – grocery stores, doctors' offices, restaurants – safely and easily by foot. In his book Walkable City, urban plan- ner and advocate Jeff Speck outlines what he calls Alberta's communities are on their way to greater walkability, but there's a trek ahead by Christine McLaren walkable cities Walking The Calgary residents amble along the Peace Bridge, a pedestrian-and- cyclist crossing of the Bow River. Seniors: Pick up a copy of the Seniors Transportation Information Guide at any AMA centre, or download one online. ama.ab.ca/Seniors Transportation

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