City of Vancouver, CP Rail reach agreement on Arbutus Corridor

CP_RailVANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The City of Vancouver and CP Rail have reached an agreement on the Arbutus Corridor lands.

It will see the corridor turned into a shared pathway. The City is billing it as a way to connect parks and people. The City says there is also the possibility of a future light rail through the area.

The cost of the deal is $55 million. CP had once said the land value was $400 million.  Read more at NEWS 1130>>

Visibility key factor in pedestrian accidents

There has been a high incidence of pedestrian injuries in marked crosswalks this winter. In response to the horrifying vehicular collision with a family walking across a marked crosswalk in Surrey B.C. the following interview took place on CBC “On The Coast” radio on February 3, 2016.

Most of the professional transportation studies indicate that visibility is the key factor in pedestrians being hit by vehicles on the road. In saying that, the professional studies do have a bias, in that civil engineers write them and others dedicated to making vehicular traffic flow smoothly, without the consideration of the pedestrian as an equal road user. When reviewing pedestrian accidents, there are three factors:

  1. Driver Behaviour;
  2. Driver Speed;
  3. Visibility.

As Neal Carley, one of the Directors of Walk Metro Vancouver notes we need to change our view of what and who uses the street rights of way.

In the 20th century the purpose of roads and rights of way was largely to move cars between two points. In the 21st century roads and their rights of way serve multiple uses for many purposes including items such as utilities, public realm, gathering places, green spaces, and street art, in addition to accommodating pedestrians, cyclists and cars.

How do we go about making streets safe, comfortable and convenient for all users?

Please listen to my interview below with Gloria Macarenko starting at 2:18:00:





And the Surgeon General Says

Surgeon_General_SaysHere we are in a new year looking back at the most important highlights of 2015.

A lot has happened in the world of walkability and smart walkable communities. We are now seeing the connection between healthy living and wellness and  walking every day in safe comfortable environments being directly tied into good town and city planning design.

In the Fall of 2015, The Surgeon General of the United States released a call to action that aims to promote walking and walkable communities.  The call to action has five goals

  1. to increase people’s physical activity to improve overall physical and mental health;
  2. to make walking a national priority;
  3. to promote programs and policies supportive of walking where people live, play and work;
  4. to provide information to encourage walking and improve walkability;
  5. to research and evaluate the impacts of walking and the health of citizens.

In 2012, half the population of the United States, approximately 117 million people were living with chronic disease. 150 minutes of moderate activity or 70 minutes of intense activity can lessen the impact of disease and can improve physical and mental health.  Simply put, twenty minutes a day of walking in your daily activities can make you a happier, healthier person.

The implications of such a national policy means that many cities and towns that are built around transportation by car must find ways to adapt to a more walkable way of life. This policy will have far reaching implications in the 21st century as engineers and planners look at including walkability as a vital piece of urban transportation.

The actual content of the call to action is below:

Walking for you, me and our future selves – the Walk Metro Vancouver Society

Walking for you, me and our future selves
– the Walk Metro Vancouver Society


Walk Metro Vancouver’s Focus

In 2015 Walk Metro Vancouver’s focus is on the importance of walkability for all ages. We want to hear from seniors’ groups in Metro Vancouver and have discussions on walkability-what is your experience, what your neighbourhood is like, and how we can assist you in enhancing your walkable places.

Walk Metro Vancouver recognizes that as seniors are encouraged to “age in place” and stay in their own homes longer, the ability to walk comfortably for connections and services is very vital.

For seniors to stay in their existing residences, walkable environments are essential to access services and shopping, and to happily participate in community life. A major study in Australia discovered that as seniors age, their reliance on walking as the major form of transportation markedly increases. Seniors in the study willingly walk up to one kilometer to access shops and services. Surprisingly young people also identify the one kilometer distance as the maximum distance for foot travel. For the most elderly, a fall on a sidewalk can result in an increased chance of death within six months-all the more reason to concentrate now on creating policies, plans and projects for the best universally walkable places now.

If streets and sidewalks and services are developed and designed for seniors, universal accessibility is achieved for everyone- from the baby in the buggy to the budding older boomer. The walking environment designed for seniors is also seamless for the young and for the disabled. Developing parameters and policy supportive of good walking environments for seniors embraces universal design for everyone no matter what age or walking ability.

Emerging housing policy for seniors is now emphasizing the importance of aging in place safely, comfortably and independently. The Seniors Advocate of British Columbia emphasizes that “Assisted Living” facilities will have a wider definition, and be descriptive of independent seniors housing, located close to shops and services. Walking is taking on a new role, that of an important transportation mode.

Statistics Canada has found that 28 per cent of seniors driving vehicles have a diagnosed dementia illness. A similar percentage are driving with limited mobility.

As more rigorous driving restrictions are enforced, independence can be maintained with walkable, workable networks.

Walking also lowers the incidence of over 41 diseases, increases physical fitness, enhances sociability, contributes to neighbourhood life, and strengthens community services. For seniors, the new “blue gym” is that easy walk outside in their neighbourhood.


How can we help?

We want to hear from you and learn with you what you need in your neighbourhood to adapt walking places to be safe, comfortable and convenient.

We can assist you in learning about the best practices for walkability, the how, what, why, and who, and help you with walkability audits and issue identification.

Many municipalities are embracing the World Health Organization’s Age Friendy City designation, which rewards cities that strengthen seniors’ policies addressing housing, transportation, outdoor spaces and buildings, community support and health, communication, civic participation and enjoyment, respect and social inclusion, and lastly social participation. All of these things need strong policy and projects around walkability to be achieved.

At Walk Metro Vancouver, we think universal walkability is vital, and we believe seniors can provide strong direction for the shape of our sidewalks and spaces.

Let us know what you think.

Please call Walk Metro Vancouver at 604 719 9412 anytime, or email.


Why Walking Meetings Can Be Better Than Sitting Meetings

Walking Meetings

Walking meetings are a kind of a big deal at LinkedIn. On any given day you can find workers strolling and talking together on the bike path at the company’s Mountain View, California, headquarters. The path takes about 20-25 minutes to circle — perfect for a half-hour one-on-one with a colleague.

The walk and talks have obvious benefits. Desk-bound office workers can all use a bit more exercise. Sitting too much is killing us. Yet the walking meeting’s upsides go far beyond the physical. Walking helps break down formalities, relaxes inhibitions and fosters camaraderie between colleagues — and less eye contact can fuel more personal conversation. Meeting on the go also minimizes distractions — no phones, no email, no texts, no colleagues interrupting you.

Continue Reading at Huffington Post.

Why Steve Jobs Took Long Walks – and Why You Should Too

Steve Jobs Long Walks

One day, when Marc Andreessen, the money man behind such tech giants as Facebook, Twitter, and Zynga, was out driving around his home in Palo Alto, California, he nearly hit a crazy old man crossing the street.

Looking back at the fool he had nearly run over he noticed the trademark blue jeans and black turtle neck. “Oh my god! I almost hit Steve Jobs!” he thought to himself.

Read the full article by Andrew Tate.

Pete McMartin: Taking life in stride – In praise of walking

Taking Life in Stride“The best thing is to walk.” — Bruce Chatwin, from Anatomy of Restlessness.

I walk a lot nowadays, though once I could not think of a greater waste of time. It was boring, it seemed … aimless. Jogging, on the other hand, offered a payoff. You ticked off the kilometres and calories. Jogging appealed to the modern work ethic that took its cues from efficiency experts, whose compression of time during our working hours leaked into our leisure ones. Hurry up! Time’s a wastin’! Run!

I still jog but without the conviction I used to. Now when I see those committed runners lost in their earbuds and fervent with exertion, I get the uneasy feeling — one I have recognized in myself — that they hope to outrun death. I have news for them.

Here’s the full Vancouver Sun article by Pete McMartin.

Walk [Your City] : Make directional signage for walking and biking

Walk Your CityRoad signage has traditionally been expensive and car-centered, leaving walkers and bikers by the wayside. Walk [Your City] lets anyone from citizens to corporations quickly and affordably promote healthy lifestyles, public safety, and human-centered transit.

Did you know that 41% of trips taken in a car are less than a 20-minute walk? Installing Walk [Your City] signs in your community reminds folks that “It’s not too far” to walk to interesting, useful destinations. Read more

Parents under investigation after letting kids walk home alone

Kids Walk AloneA Maryland couple is under investigation for child neglect after they let their kids, aged six and 10, walk to and from a local park without parental supervision.

On a Saturday afternoon last December, Danielle and Alexander Meitiv gave their kids Rafi and Dorva permission to walk home alone from a park that was located a mile from their house. While the kids were walking home, someone saw them and alerted the police. The authorities then arrived to escort the kids home and discuss the dangers of the situation with their parents. More from

Creating Walkable Accessible Places for Everyone