Did you know that a person can walk about one kilometre in 10 minutes? This makes walking trips to nearby stores and amenities seem attainable! It’s easy to take it “one step at a time” and make practical goals when adding more walkable commutes to your day.
Tips for fitting more walking into your days:
- Park further away than your normal parking space and incorporate a longer walk into your morning and evening
- Exit the bus, subway or streetcar one stop before your destination and walk the rest of the way
- In large shopping complexes or Smart Centres, park in a central location and complete all your errands by walking to each store, rather than driving to each one
- Walk to the mail box rather than driving there
- If you live within a 10 – 15 minute walk of a grocery or drug store, invest in a foldable shopping cart to make your shopping journeys easier
- Walking may take more time than driving to certain destinations, so leave a little earlier than you normally would. It does take longer, but the positive effects walking has on your heart, body and overall well-being is worth it!
- Adapt your walking attire for the season – wear bright or lighter colours in the winter, dress warmly, bring an umbrella in the rain.
One of the most interesting features of Smart Commute’s trip tool is its ability to calculate calories burned by walking, so input your walking trips, and see that you’re further ahead in your fitness goals than you think!
Knowing where to walk
Certain streets are designed to be more walkable than others. If you’d like to start walking to work, school, or to run errands, choose streets that have the following design elements for a pleasant and safer experience:
- Pedestrian Through Zone: this primary accessible pathway should run parallel to the street. This zone should be at least 5 – 7 feet wide in residential areas and 8 – 12 feet wide in commercial areas to accommodate everyone, including those using personal mobility devices.
- Street Furniture/Curb Zone: this section lies between the thorough zone and the curb, and may feature attractive lighting, benches, newspaper kiosks, trees or bicycle parking stands. These elements are essential in “placemaking,” an approach to designing public spaces that promotes healthy living and a sense of community – two factors that influence a street’s walkability.
- Enhancement/Buffer Zone: this space rests immediately next to the sidewalk, and may include curb extensions, parklets or stormwater management features and cycle tracks. Similar to street furniture on the curb zone, these elements provide a noise and visual buffer from traffic that create a pleasant and safe atmosphere for pedestrians.
(Source: National Association of City Transportation Officials)