Part of Walk On’s mandate is to promote and celebrate walking as a form of transportation and recreation. Pedestrians may frequently go overlooked by policymakers and engineers, but we’re here to let you know that we appreciate every step you take! Whether you choose to walk because you love all the benefits, or whether you walk because it’s the cheapest or most convenient way to get around, we salute you for using an environmentally-friendly, community-enhancing, healthy form of transportation.
In October, we hosted Walktober–an online step-counting challenge. Participants were able to register using their FitBit, smartphone, or other fitness-tracking device to track their steps on a common platform. Participants were entered into a draw for every day they walked 10,000 steps and also had a chance at additional prizes for special challenges. Overall, over 11 million steps were taken by participants–the distance from Vancouver to Toronto and back again! The participant who took the title of “Big Stepper” (most steps overall) walked over 800,000 steps during the month (including from Sidney to James Bay in a single day!)
Special thanks to our Walktober Champions, who shared some of their thoughts about walking and walkability.
Next year we’ll be doing it again, only bigger and better. We look forward to seeing you on the sidewalk during Walktober 2017–if you want to participate, make sure to sign up for our mailing list using the “Become a Member/Contact Us” link above.
June 19th was Victoria’s second annual Car Free Day. Once again the weather was great and people came out in droves to experience their city on foot. This year 220 people visited our booth and signed up to become part of our general membership–welcome and we look forward to getting to know you!
Our informal polls at the event gave us some information about the people we strive to represent. Here’s the results:
The most common place that Greater Victorians walk is to the grocery store, followed by the park/beach, work/school, bus stop, restaurants, and other shopping. Other places we didn’t include in our list but were named by respondents were the library, community centre playgroups, and recreational walking areas.
Respondents are generally willing to walk quite far–with the majority saying “no distance is too far”! When asked how many hours per week they walk, almost half said they walk over eight hours.
Respondents had a lot of ideas about what the #1 walking improvement in their neighbourhood would be. More crosswalks got the most votes, but here’s some of the items respondents themselves came up with:
- bus shelters
- cyclists off the sidewalk
- dog-friendly cafes
- dogs on leash
- better lighting
- construction detours
- beverage stop/food truck along Dallas Road
- for drivers to be reminded that any pedestrian at a crosswalk has priority
- less pavement
- protected walkways
- path between streets to connect our neighbourhood
- less obstructions (e.g., overgrown plants)
- improved sidewalk surface conditions for mobility devices (e.g., Fort Street)
- a pedestrian precinct downtown (Government St.)
- more trees for shade
- sidewalks (Gorge-Tillicum)
- micro-parks and placemaking
- more greenspaces
The wide variety of input reflects the diverse neighbourhoods and pedestrians of Greater Victoria.
Several people mentioned they’ve noticed overgrown shrubs in their neigbourhood blocking the sidewalks. Homeowners are required to keep those in check so sidewalks are accessible to all! If you find yourself stymied by an overgrown shrub or other obstruction, note the location/address and report it to your local government. Your fellow pedestrians will thank you!
Here’s where you can report obstructions for three of our local municipalities:
Walk On Week 2015
Mark your calendars! Walk On Week 2015 happens October 5th-11th. This inaugural week-long celebration of walking will raise the profile of Greater Victoria pedestrians and highlight recreational walking opportunities.
The launch event (sponsored by the City of Victoria) happens October 5th, from 7:30am-9:00am in Centennial Square. Walk On, Victoria welcomes non-profit walking groups to operate a booth at the event–so if you want to share information about your walking group, please get in touch at email@example.com. We also welcome you to tell us about any free public walks your group is hosting throughout the week of October 5th-11th so that we can promote them via our Walk On Week 2015 calendar!
Walk On, Victoria is working with the Township of Esquimalt to gather input about walkability and urban design more generally from focus groups who might not otherwise be heard in the design process.
Walk On members will be hosting two sessions later this month with people who identify with the following groups:
- People with disabilities and physical mobility challenges
- Parents of young children
These groups are likely to have special concerns relating to safety and accessibility. Input will to be taken into consideration by planners during the drafting of new West Bay Design Guidelines and upcoming review of the Official Community Plan.
If you live in West Bay and identify as belonging to one of these groups, please let us know! Sessions will be held:
- Tuesday, August 25th from 7:00pm-8:30pm in the Viewfield Room at Esquimalt Recreation Centre
- Friday, August 28th from 10:00am-11:30am in the Viewfield Room at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for information!
The Community Association of Oak Bay is starting the new year with energy by hosting regular evening walks along safe and scenic routes. This is a great way to connect with your neighbours and look for opportunities to make walking safer and pleasant for all.