IS YOUR COMMUNITY READY TO APPLY?
Becoming a walk friendly community is a process that takes commitment, resources, and time. The WALK Friendly Ontario program is designed to recognize and celebrate your progress along the way. You may feel like your community has much more to do before it is truly a welcoming and safe place for walkers, but it is important to take stock of how far you’ve come and pat yourself on the back for all your accomplishments.
In fact, you might be surprised to discover that the progress your community has already made is sufficient to earn a WALK Friendly Ontario award or honourable mention. And, the process of completing the application itself serves as a useful exercise for assessing your current walking environment and planning a road map for the future, a valuable investment of time regardless of whether you achieve a designation this time or not.
Your community is ready to apply for a WALK Friendly Ontario (WFO) designation if you have or are working on some of the following:
- A high-level plan that specifically addresses the needs and interests of walkers.
- Signing the International Charter for Walking or similar document to express your commitment and intentions.
- An active citizen group or committee of council that is focused on walking.
- A well-maintained network of infrastructure in place to support walking, e.g. sidewalks, trails, bridges.
- Offering activities that promote walking such as Open Streets/Jane’s Walk, created walking route maps and signage, and participating in the annual Commuter Challenge initiatives and Active and Safe Routes to School programs.
- Pedestrian safety campaigns to educate walkers and drivers about safely sharing the right-of-way.
- Conducting evaluation activities for example, audits to better understand the condition of walking environment, count pedestrians and pre and post studies of traffic calming initiatives.
- A commitment to work together with key stakeholders (e.g. public health, police, municipal councillors, transportation professionals, schools) to make walking safe and enjoyable.