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.
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