Westworld Alberta

Fall 2014

Westworld Alberta

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

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Page 36 of 63

(top) steve sutherland f a l l 2 0 1 4 | W e s t W o r l d a l b e r t a 37 the General eory of Walkability, which states that a good neighbourhood walk must be useful, safe, comfortable and interesting. And those walks come with a raft of benefits. A study published by the University of British Columbia's Active Transportation Collaboratory showed that residents living in highly walkable neighbourhoods are half as likely to be overweight as residents of unwalkable neighbourhoods. Each grocery store within one kilometre of an individual's residence corresponded with an 11 per cent reduc- tion in the likelihood of he or she being overweight. e same residents generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions and save thousands of dollars on transportation costs. On top of that, their houses are worth more and retain value better. One study found that for every single-point increase in Walk Score, a now-standard ranking that rates walkabil- ity on a scale of 100, neighbourhoods experienced $700 to $3,000 increases in property values. Walkability helps keep the roads safer, too. "When you have more people out walking, it tends to humanize the contact between pedestrians and motorists. ey start to recognize the people in the space, instead of just the machines," says Liam Crotty, program coordina- tor for Advocacy and Com- munity Services at AMA. "It tends to slow things down and that's going to be safer for everybody." Albertan municipalities are working to become more walkable. Main arterials in downtown Edmonton – for instance, Jasper Avenue, 104th Avenue and part of 108th Street (Capital Boulevard) – are being retrofitted with wider sidewalks, safer pedestrian crossings, better signage, more Albertans love their cars – no question. But more and more, we're choosing to live in places where a vehicle is a useful option, as opposed to a requirement for everyday life." –Liam Crotty, program coordinator, AMA Advocacy and Community Services The Senior- Friendly City Why walkability is a boon for aging drivers anadians, as a popu- lation, are aging. by 2031, around one in five albertans will be over 65. and a large proportion of them will give up their driver's licences when it's no longer safe to get behind the wheel. "More and more, we're outliving our ability to drive," says Liam Crotty, program coordinator for advocacy and Community services at aMa. but because alberta commu- nities cater to the car, we risk becoming socially stranded, and reliant on others, when that happens."We need ways to stay mobile after we give up our vehicles, and we can look to our own two feet to help us stay on the move – for health, as well as a means of transportation," says Crotty. so alberta communities can become more "age friendly" by becoming more walkable. Which, says Crotty, can be achieved through such measures as convert- ing downtown avenues to pedestrian use, installing better lighting in pedestrian areas and developing ameni- ties like shops, public transit, government buildings and community centres near resi- dential areas. easy-to-climb curbs, wide, well-maintained sidewalks and public rest areas also make it easier for seniors to get around safely without driving. if retrofitting alberta's car-centric communities to suit one segment of the population sounds costly, consider: if a community is walkable for seniors, it's walkable for everyone. C Shoppers stroll the 104 Street farmers' market in Edmonton. Walkability by direction: Prototype signs like this one in Churchill Square have popped up in the capital, thanks to the Edmonton Wayfinding Project. The idea is to encourage walking by helping pedestrians better navigate the downtown. ''

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