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Walk this way

Michelle Kay, Yahoo! Canada News - Fri May 28, 4:01 PM


The top-five cities -- Vancouver, Victoria, Montreal, Toronto and Halifax -- have high population densities, which affect how people interact with space and urban planning, he said.


The magazine gathered its information through a number of sources, including StatsCan and individual city statistics and then developed a 12-point questionnaire on topics such as the percentage of people who walk to work, park areas, vehicle use, etc.


The information was presented to a panel of judges -- author, broadcaster and director of Jane's Walks, Jane Farrow, Guillermo Penalosa, consultant, planner and executive director of the non-profit 8 ? 80 Cities, and sustainability professional Amanda Mitchell.


Up! discovered a city with a higher population density embraced a visitor-centric approach when it came to urban planning. The more walkable a city, the more livable it was for its citizens (and easier for tourists to navigate).


It comes as no surprise that Vancouver came out on top (see below for the complete list).


The city has a number of factors in its favour, from its population density (about 5,000 people per square kilometre), pleasant climate to expansive parkland.


Nearly 40 per cent of downtown residents walk to work and it's easy to see why.


Vancouver is packed with attractive streetscapes and a progressive street pattern with many maps that help pedestrians find their bearings, Gierasimczuk said.


The city provides ample opportunities for its inhabitants and tourists to be active.


"It's got this mystique. It has built a reputation as this walkable, active, car-free paradise," he said.


A walkable place means a city respects its inhabitants enough to want to provide a manageable and livable space.


"All these factors that make a city walkable means that a city celebrates its citizens," Gierasimczuk said.


Walking is also one of the simplest, cheapest and healthiest ways to get around. Not only is walking a great way to shed the pounds, it doesn't cost anything to use our own two feet.


More often than not, when you go for a walk you discover something new.


You notice things you normally wouldn't see from the vantage point of a car or even a bicycle, since walking is an activity that forces you to slow down, breathe, look around and take things in.


Now, who wants to go for a stroll?


Canada's Most Walkable Cities 2010


1. Vancouver

2. Victoria

3. Montreal

4. Toronto

5. Halifax

6. Quebec City

7. Ottawa

8. Calgary

9. St. John's

10. Winnipeg



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In terms of Canadian suburbs (which might actually be a more interesting, and more surprising), I would say various Montreal suburbs like Longueuil and Saint Lambert would come out ahead. Nearly every street has sidewalks in both cities (and the layout for the older sections of both is grid pattern).

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were you being sarcastic?


sidewalks, really?.. on virtually every street?



anyway, "walkability" - or whatever you wanna call it - has always been to me the one true measure of that infamous human scale planning. thats why even in ubber dense places like manhattan, this high proximity of home to work and services almost makes you feel like you reside in a homey neighborhood, even though you spend most of your time amisdt(?) 200m high rises..


its that same kind of feeling i got when i moved to the plateau about 6 years ago - and why im ready to shell out extra dough each month for rent just to be able to stay there.

Edited by pedepy
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I don't think he's being sarcastic.


Many suburbs lack sidewalks, especially newer ones. Longueuil and St-Lambert have sidewalks on all streets (a few tiny exceptions aside)


I regularly walk from metro Longueuil to my home. It's a 25 min walk, but it's a pretty pleasant one.

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Yeah, I'm not being sarcastic. It is possible to walk most places in Vieux-Longueuil or Saint-Lambert within a relatively short period of time only using sidewalks. In fact, it is even quite common for lots of people in these areas to not own a car (including a lot of homeowners). That's just how close grocery stores, pharmacies, etc. are. You are never more than a 20-25 min walk from anything.

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I don't think Montreal should be on that list. One thing that is lacking in Montreal, which exists in every other city on the list, are crosswalks with seconds at every intersection with a traffic light to inform pedestrians of how many seconds they have to cross the street. These exist at every intersection in Toronto and Vancouver , but in Montreal they only exist at certain intersections. In Toronto, there are at every intersection with a traffic light.


Also, Montreal needs to re-sync their traffic lights so there's a least a 1.5 second moment between the lights changing. In Toronto, that 1.5 second window has saved me so many times. When I come back to Montreal I almost get run over because I'm so use to that gap in time from Toronto. In NYC, the cap is the same as Toronto. Many of my Toronto friends always question me about the lack of that gap in Montreal. What it means is that once the light turns red, all directions see a red light for 1.5 seconds before the the other direction turns green. In Montreal, when one light turns red, the other light simultaneously turns green. As a pedestrian, that 1.5 seconds feels like minute. In Montreal, without that break in time, pedestrians are sometimes caught 5 or 10 feet off the curb just when the light turns green.


Another thing Montreal could also do is make some intersections with chimes for the visual impaired. Those exist in most Canadian cities, but not at every intersection. But hey, if Montreal wants to take the lead and put them at every intersection, go ahead. Speaking about the visual impair, Montreal should ensure the new Metro cars have a door chime so blind people (and commuters in a hurry) have at least a 1 or 2 second warning that the doors are about to close. These exist on the TTC subway, on Vancouver's SkyTrain, on Calgary's C-Train and on NYC subway.


And sramble crossings should be at more places too.


Maudit Montreal, make life easier for people instead of difficult!

Edited by Maisonneuve
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