Norfolk County: A Rural Walkability Story
Located on lake Erie in Ontario,
Land area is 1606.95 square km, with a population density of 37.9 people/square km.
It all started in January 2007. The Local Heart Health Program and the Health Unit started by presenting the walkON walkabilitly information session to several groups within the county and to the managers group.
We then organized 2 workshops that were developed by walkON. We had a turnout of approx 20 people ranging from county staff, local businesses and community citizens. These workshops allowed the participant to look at one of the towns under a microscope and to develop a plan of action. We then did a follow-up workshop where we had lots of media coverage and had even more people attend.
After the three workshops a group formed called “Norfolk Pathways for People”. This group is made up of concerned residents from all areas of Norfolk and also pertinent partners in government, and existing trail and cycling organizations. The group is working towards improving the conditions of walking and cycling for health, recreation and transportation in Norfolk County.
This group has 3 priorities:
- Promote the use of existing pathways in a safe and healthy way
- Advocate to improve new and existing pathways
- Inventory existing and future pathways for accessibility and safety for walkers, bikers and the disabled.
It has taken a year and a half to get a committee established and to start working on projects. It takes lots of time and information sharing, but it is worth it!
Submitted by Norfolk Pathways for People- May 2008
Engaging Citizens of Pelham in Active Transportation Planning
Pelham, Niagara Region, Ontario
The Pelham Active Transportation Committee (PATC) was looking for ways to engage citizens in identifying AT issues and input into our plans for 2010-11.
The chair of the PATC arranged for the committee to have a booth at the Pelham Farmers Market. She also contacted the media and was interviewed for 2 articles that encouraged residents to voice their opinions to the PATC at the upcoming market.
PATC had a good turnout at the Farmer's Market. Many residents mentioned the newspaper articles and indicated that they follow the committee's work throughout the year. Members received many good ideas, a resounding affirmation of the ideas for an "Open Streets" event in the spring and the development of a master plan for trails/cycling in Pelham. Several residents came to the market with their lists of ideas/concerns/comments. Many of the residents indicated their thanks and appreciation for the work of the PATC and encouraged members to continue market outreach events
PATC will continue to use the market as a way to engage residents in our work.
We have found from other market outreach events that it is good to have a specific ask in mind. Promoting the event in the paper also worked well.
Submitted by Lisa Gallant, Healthy Living Niagara
Addressing Infrastructure Changes
Pelham, Niagara Region, Ontario
Pelham has worked on active transportation for more than a year as a major priority for Council. The Pelham Active Transportation Committee (PATC) provided input during the planning of several major route reconstruction projects.
Using residents' feedback regarding the urgency for a dedicated crosswalk in downtown Fonthill, the PATC was able to influence and, in fact, change the Town's decision regarding the location of a crosswalk in the redesigned downtown area.
The chair and other members of PATC joined with the a member of the Downtown Beautification Committee and met with the town engineer and contracted engineer to discuss concerns about the proposed location for a crosswalk. This face to face approach worked well.
It was helpful to be aware of engineering standards to build a case for our concerns about the proposed location. It was also helpful to have comments from residents about the need for the crosswalk. A traffic study also had information to help us make our case.
Submitted by walkon [at] pelham [dot] ca
Grey Bruce Region, Ontario
Students were educated on the impact that development has on the health of residents. They were engaged in the discussion and offered feedback to improve the walkability and bikability within their community. The format of the event really worked. The students became quite engaged in the discussion and they also enjoyed the walking tour/site plan exercises.
If we were to do this again we would plan further in advance in order to engage more local schools in the event. Youth possess a wealth of knowledge. We need to encourage them to share some of their ideas to make their community healthier.
Submitted by Jason Weppler, Grey Bruce Health Unit