What Is Walkable?
A walkable neighbourhood is a neighbourhood where walking, biking, and public transportation are safe and effective ways to travel. Where we drive less. Where the population is able to support nearby cafes and restaurants, hardware stores and corner stores, and more public services like libraries, and recreation centres - all within walking distance.
A walkable neighbourhood is also nice to walk in. It has plenty of green space, with trees offering canopy cover, and parks that are safe and easy to get to by bike or on foot. The air is cleaner. It is zoned with more opportunities for small businesses to open and serve the growing community, and it has homes designed with street-facing balconies and front decks, so there is life in the place where the street and the home meet. And it has housing units of different types and sizes that welcome a diversity of households at all stages of life.
The goals of walkability are always the same, but how we get there is specific to the needs of the individual neighbourhood. The urban neighbourhood might need more green space, more supportive zoning for small businesses, and better bike lanes. The suburban one might need more reliable public transit, safer crosswalks, and recreation centres that are within walking distance.
Cars still have a place in this community too. Appropriate and intentional parking makes sure that, for the longer trips, our cars are still there when we need them. Walkability simply means that cars are no longer our only option. A walkable neighbourhood means arriving at your destination not exhausted from your trip there, but revitalized by it. It’s a neighbourhood where it’s easier to stay healthy, to go where we want to, and to get to know our neighbours.