Communities improve walkability

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Last fall, Green Communities Canada invited communities that had received WALK Friendly Ontario designations in 2013 to reapply to the program to benchmark their progress. Of the nine communities invited to participate in this targeted intake, Kingston, Ottawa, Hamilton, and Richmond Hill submitted applications.

Kingston improved its status and was awarded a 2016 Bronze WALK Friendly Community designation. Judges were impressed by pedestrian-friendly initiatives such as reducing the speed limit on a major artery to make walking safer, funding street design changes to ensure a positive walking experience, and crosswalk upgrades.

Ottawa maintained Silver designation, with judges emphasizing it is a “strong” Silver and that Gold status is within reach. Ottawa has developed impressive policies to promote complete streets and traffic safety for elderly and vulnerable road users.

Hamilton also maintained Silver designation, and was lauded for creating new sidewalks and improving existing ones, installing pedestrian crossovers, and hosting a number of street festivals, including Open Streets Hamilton, which is dedicated to active transportation.

Richmond Hill maintained Bronze designation and was praised for advancing the first phase of the Lake to Lake Cycling and Walking Trail route, which provides a key north-south connection for commuters and recreational users.

WALK Friendly Communities is a recognition program that encourages municipalities to create and improve walking conditions by awarding Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum designations. The 2016 targeted intake was funded by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA).

Read the profiles of all designated WALK Friendly Communities here.