Thursday, August 7, 2008

Kirkendall Walks

Kirkendall Walks - Lowering your footprint by making many

Kirkendall Walks is an Environment Hamilton pilot project to evaluate and enhance transportation alternatives in one local neighbourhood and help its residents replace car trips with more sustainable options that also strengthen their community. It is funded by the EcoAction program of Environment Canada.

At the centre of the project will be a website (under development) that shows all local destinations of interest in and near Kirkendall, and responds to entry of a user's address by displaying distances and transportation options. It will include walking paths, bike lanes and signed routes, transit routes and stops, and links to other transportation options such as GO Transit.

It will also provide information on community events, walking clubs, neighbourhood meetings, and other information that enhance community life, as well as where to obtain specific goods and services – nearest skating facility, choices of restaurants, places of worship, etc.

Staff and volunteers (please do!) will conduct walkability assessments, lead cycling and walking tours, map destinations, and lobby for community enhancements that make non-car travel more accessible, enjoyable and frequent.

Planning that assumes car dependence has left our neighbourhoods with an inadequate transit system, obstacles to walking and cycling, and a shortage of local amenities. While we want healthier local communities, old habits die hard and the perception remains that one must drive to reach one's destination.

Popularizing and supporting alternatives to cars improves cardiovascular health, reduces obesity, lowers stress, increases neighbourhood friendships, creates demand for more local businesses and other local destinations, and builds community spirit and quality of life.

As individuals start using alternative modes, even if only initially for very local trips, these advantages will lead them to make more use of these modes for longer trips and begin to reduce car dependency. Benefits tend to accumulate in a positive direction. For example when a community is walkable, studies show that it is easier to implement public transit systems and bike routes.

Our objective is to create a model alternative transportation program that can serve as an example for the whole city and can be easily expanded to other neighbourhoods. To get involved please contact Beatrice or 905 627 2696

or Jarah West.