Walkable communities safer for kids and seniors

Walkable communities safer for kids and seniors

Walking to work, to school or to the store is good for everyone, both as a way to be active and to save money on gas. But in many places, getting around on foot can be difficult, especially for children and seniors, who depend on walking the most.

"Most neighbourhoods are built for driving, not walking, and that has a big impact on the health and wellbeing of kids and seniors," says [insert full name of program coordinator, job title and place of work] and local coordinator of the iCANwalk program.

iCANwalk is a coalition of various partners, including [insert name of local organization], that supports the development of walkable communities to improve the health of people, the environment and the economy. One of the program's goals is to make neighbourhoods easier to walk in for children, seniors and people with disabilities.

[insert contact's surname] says there are lots of ways streets and roads can be made more pedestrian-friendly. For example, raised medians can be built on wide roads to give people a safe halfway point if they can't make it across the street in one shot. Car parking near busy corners and intersections can also be removed so it's easier for drivers and people on foot to see each other.

"This is especially important for kids," explains [insert contact's surname]. "It's hard for drivers to see youngsters through parked cars, so getting rid of parking near corners and crosswalks makes it safer for everyone." Building benches and picnic tables also make neighbourhoods more appealing to seniors and anyone else who needs to take a break while walking.

There are lots of ways to make your community a safer, more walkable place. For starters, you could walk or cycle someplace you'd normally drive. On your way, fill out an iCANwalk checklist about where you went, how easy it was and what you saw along the way.

You can also sign the International Charter for Walking and pledge to walk more and take steps to make your community safer for walking. Write or talk to your elected officials about why you think building walkable communities is important.