Minto has been designated a 2014 Bronze WALK Friendly Community. As a small rural community, Minto demonstrates that making walkability a top concern is not hindered by limited resources. From walkability audits to streetscape improvements, a school travel planning pilot, and strong partnerships with various stakeholders, Minto has a long-standing and continued commitment to creating a walk friendly community.
Some highlights from Minto‘s application include:
- As an early supporter of walkability, Minto has been actively developing a walkable community since the mid-2000s and formed a Walkable Communities Committee in 2006. Minto Council signed the International Charter for Walking in 2007 and the Town was invited to present as a case study at the Walk21 conference held in Toronto that same year.
- The community has worked with the University of Guelph on two projects; one to identify potential trail linkages and communicate with local landowners to determine a route, and another that involved a third-year landscape architecture class touring Minto and developing streetscape plans with a vision to improve the conditions for walking and cycling. These plans were used to start a community conversation about improving the streetscape and informed the downtown Streetscape Plan that was unanimously approved by Council and is currently being implemented. This includes the development and creation of several public spaces such as the new park in downtown Harriston.
- Minto has historically had a strong partnership with Wellington Dufferin Guelph (WDG) Public Health, and Public Health adds capacity by providing part-time staff person dedicated to promoting active transportation. Early on, WDG Public Health staff initiated three walking audits with members of Council to identify barriers in the community, which has helped increase councillor’s understanding of the value of a walk friendly community.
- Created by the Walkable Communities Committee and approved for use by Council, the Sustainable Community Guidelines for Development & Developers help guide new development and create a healthy, active community into the future. The Developer’s Checklist asks developers questions about population density, street connectivity, street lengths, street design, how traffic will be addressed, streetscape design, and about parkland and trails.
- The Town of Minto “walks the talk” and has won all challenges during the Commuter Challenge and in motion week, demonstrating that they are the most physically active Council in Wellington County, Dufferin County and the City of Guelph.
- Minto began a School Travel Planning pilot in 2014 at one elementary school, to encourage and educate school children about walking and biking to school.