Choosing active transportation options is a great way to add some physical activity to your routine, while also making a difference to climate change and road safety. It connects you to your community in a way that driving everywhere does not. The concept of active transportation is not a new one, but is definitely gaining ground in several communities across the country.
Active Transportation: Human-powered travel. It refers primarily to walking and cycling, but also to in-line skating, skateboarding, wheelchairing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and even kayaking or canoeing (www.fcm.ca/gmf).
The City of Edmonton has recently committed to building on their already widely used trail system through the river valley and out into surrounding communities. The City of Winnipeg has seen a surge in their funding as residents get on board for these city-led initiatives from $300,000 in 2005 to more than $3 million. Kamloops, Vancouver, Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, even Whitehorse, YK, have seen their city’s downtown become well connected to other neighborhoods with bicycling and walking trails.
In Spruce Grove, the trail system is vast and easily accessible with over 40 kilometres of trails through the middle of the city and beyond (www.sprucegrove.org). Greenbury, the Woods at Kenton, Kenton Village, and Prescott, all communities planned by Beaverbrook Developments (www.beaverbrook.ca), have had these principles built into the development of the community. All of the communities will be connected to each other and to the new school being built in Prescott, allowing the children in the area to walk to school. Walking to school even a couple of times a week makes a difference to emissions in the air, and helps kids get the daily 60 minutes of physical activity that the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology recommends.
In Stony Plain, the Town maintains over 25 kilometres of trails that link parks and facilities, and provide access to many neighborhoods and businesses. (www.stonyplain.com)
Instead of driving to the store the next time you need milk, consider biking, walking, strolling or rolling your way there instead. Encourage your kids to make a plan (including a buddy system) to ride or walk to school. Encourage your municipality to develop more trails to allow access to all parts of the community and to make this a priority. When active transportation is used, we all benefit!
Celebrate World Health Day!