The city of Vernon has produced an excellent map showing travel times by foot. I think it's pretty accurate and I'm hoping more people will try it out and decide for themselves. Meanwhile the City is also working to complete the 25th Street sidewalk project which has had some controversy but is moving along nicely. The New sidewalk stretches from 46th Ave on the North to where PV joins 25th.
Reading a great book called "Tactical Urbanism". Simply put, it is a way to change your neighborhood into a more liveable one by enacting short-term, low-cost and immediate changes on a trial basis which could translate into permanent infrastructure when there is public buy-in. Let me explain by a simple example. Times Square in New York City was a very different place before May of 2009. It was not a place where you would want to hang out.
Virtually overnight, thanks to a progessive mayor Michael Bloomberg and transportation minister Janette Sadik-Khan
(see the video) on the Memorial Day weekend of 2009, Times Square changed from a car-clogged traffic jam nightmare to a beautiful pedestrian square where the people came to shop, to dine, to linger, and to spend. The businesses boomed and there was no turning back. All that was done was the closing of a street, the addition of paint, and some patio furniture!
For another example that predates Times Square, we take a trip to Holland to see a "Woonerf", which is Dutch for "living yard". Woonerfs were developed by citizens decades ago when they were frustrated with increasing traffic in their residential neighborhoods. On a woonerf, priority is given to people who are not in cars although the road is not closed to cars. Physical barriers are in place so cars are forced to travel not much faster than walking speed. In 1976, the Dutch government passed a law to incorporate the woonerf into national street design standards. They are now gaining popularity throughout the rest of Europe and in North America,
Other examples of tactical urbanism are guerilla gardening
(this photo shows a pothole garden), pavement to parks or parklets (a teeny park ranges from several inches to several feet), pop-up parks, and pop-up activities like yoga, music or art in somewhere like a parking space such as international Park(ing) day
Tactical Urbanism works for government, for developers, and for citizens because it's a way to showcase demonstration projects. Best practices can be put into place quickly as temporary measures. The vision can be seen in 3-D, not just as an engineer's drawing. This is a much more effective way to garner public support. It will silence the "no-way" vocal minority who are in opposition to any change and the elected officials who want to play it safe by public surveys with their low rate of participation and long-range plans that never come to fruition. Tactical Urbanism is quick and it works! Its for people who want to DO, not just talk about doing! So please join Vernon's first Park(ing) day on Friday, Sept. 16, sponsored by the Downtown Vernon Association and try your hand at your very own, sanctioned tactical urbanism. Can't wait to see your Park(ing) space. What fun!
NOCAT members responded to recent blog entries with a request to also include what the City of Vernon is doing well. So, INTRODUCING the soon to be complete 25th Street sidewalk project; from 46th Ave to PV Road.
Many of the older neighbourhoods in Vernon don't have sidewalks so the city has to add them - especially to neighbourhoods that motorists are using to short cut around the roads designed for more volume, speed and with better sight-lines; 27th Street in this case. So, you can go with traffic calming, or add sidewalks to get peds off the road, or add a multi-use wider-than-a-sidewalk trail. A number of other things were talked about but the city chose sidewalks and they are coming along fine. To get the sidewalks installed there were a few trees lost, a few fences moved and, sad to say, some hard feelings. Well anyway, soon those pesky pedestrians will be out of the way. Thanks for the sidewalks on 25th Street City of Vernon.
Below is an isochrone map (definition) prepared by the City of Vernon that shows estimated walking time. I think it pretty accurately illustrates that Vernon is not very large at all. Walk Vernon!
Below is a copy of the City of Vernon Community Bike Route. You can pick up a paper copy of this at City Hall and most bikes shops. At the bottom is an Isochrones Map that illustrates estimated travel times.
Hi there, in 75 seconds I’d like to explain to you why I want you to join the North Okanagan Coalition for Active Transportation – that’s NOCAT for short.
NOCAT is a newly formed coalition of individuals and organizations who want to create active, family fun events, and meet with all levels of government to improve walking and bicycling facilities.
Membership is free – just send us an email to join.
Why should you join? Because inappropriate facilities are still being built and some older facilities don’t favour active transportation.
How can you explore your neighbourhood safely or get to work on foot when so many streets don’t have sidewalks or they end abruptly?
How is it possible, despite Vernon’s 200 page OCP and a 60 page Pedestrian & Cycling master plan, that dangerous facilities are still being created – like THIS obstacle recently added to a bike lane in Vernon. Would you do this to a motorist?
Or how about this bike lane marking? Explain to me how this enhances safety!
That’s just a few examples, there are plenty more throughout the North Okanagan.
So join NOCAT and together we can make the North Okanagan more walkable, rideable and one of the best areas in BC to live.
That’s it! Send us an email! And share with you friends.
Followers of the NOCAT Facebook page know we are friends with Green Communities Canada and the program they are promoting, Canada Walks. A key component of Active Transportation is getting people to walk for pragmatic purposes such as shopping but also to go to the doctor or go out for dinner.
Walking in Downtown Vernon is a pleasure. The street projects over the last few years have made a delightful linear space from the Court house on the west side all the way east to the round-about beside the Schubert Centre. It’s only 8 blocks but it’s full of great places to shop, dine and see professionals about a variety of common day needs.
The City of Vernon website has information about walking as part of their Vernon Moves and transportation strategy. City governments across North America are embracing walking for many fiscal reasons; that is to say, not so much because walking has many health benefits but because it’s far less expensive to make sidewalks than roads – and sidewalks last far longer without maintenance.
Fresh out of The Car is King Age of urban planning it’s not always easy to retro fit many Vernon streets with sidewalks; so politicians and planners are confronted with many challenges. Some of those challenges are related to the mixed use of sidewalks. In a perfect example of ‘build it and they will come’ Vernon’s downtown, 8 block, linear core is attracting many pedestrians who are on foot, but others are on scooters, skateboards, or using walkers and bicycles.
The group who represent downtown merchants, the DVA, encourage you to go downtown and wander about the shops, take part in the many scheduled festivities, look at the murals and read the plaques on the many historical sites. They’ve even prepared a map of the downtown core with estimated times based, they say, ‘on the pace of a senior or a family with small children.’
Using their guide I estimate it would take a very senior senior, 28 minutes to go from the library to the downtown Safeway; it takes me 12 minutes – and I’m not rushing. That means the entire downtown core is only about 15 minutes wide if you are a reasonably fit person and just want to go from one end to the other.
I’ve included the remainder of the DVA document so you can see there are many events to take in over the summer. I encourage you to park a few blocks from downtown and walk in, see the sights, shop local, listen to some live music – the walk will do you good.
Although we post on Facebook regularly, we also wanted to create a space to provide more thought and detail - and we also wanted to give you a venue to feedback your helpful thoughts about NOCAT.
Kerry is happiest when she's out of her car and on her bicycle. As a community physiotherapist, she'd love to see more people of all ages engaging in an active lifestyle by walking and bicycling to where they need to go!
Bruce keeps active by walking and running in the Vernon area. When not on foot you can often see him on bicycle, with his trailer, shopping locally or taking his recycling to the depot. Bruce has also been a CAN-BIKE bicycling skills instructor for over 20 years. See www.gonecycling.com