The idea of active transportation is one which is catching on in Yorkton.
The idea of leaving the car at home and seeking alternate ways to get around the city is one you can’t really argue against.
Lowering the consumption of fossil fuels and opting for a more active and healthier alternative is a reasonable concept to promote, and to hope residents buy into.
That said, there seems to be some elements which have been undertaken which make limited sense, and some which are yet to be developed which are a must to help further promote the idea of alternative transportation.
There are really three primary options to leave the car at home.
One is to use public transportation.
Yorkton has a public bus system, which is a bonus for a city this size, but it is a system with limitations.
To take the bus to attend many events happening around the city in the evening or on weekends doesn’t work.
Even getting to the office by 8 a.m., and home after 6 is an issue with the current system, and if you work evenings, as many do these days, the issue of using the bus is even more limited.
Then there is the bicycle.
Through the Active Transportation initiative we have a bunch of painted lanes on several streets pointing out where bikes can travel. Of course in reality you can ride a bicycle on any city street, so the markings make limited sense. It would be like posting signs suggesting pedestrians walk on the sidewalks.
What is missing is what to do with your bicycle if you ride it to work, or to go shopping.
Bicycle stands where you can safely lock your ride are rare in the city downtown core, and at many cultural and business locales around the community.
This is either an indication business and mall managers have not seen the need for such amenities because few are biking, or it is a missing element which lowers interest in taking a bike to work or shopping.
Then there is foot traffic.
There is little to stop people from getting around the city on foot, and increasingly the city is making sure foot traffic is accommodated in terms of passive recreation options. An example is the walking corridor being created to connect the Silver Heights area of the city to Broadway Street which will encompass Patrick Park and its free to use disc golf course, and the Brodie Avenue water retention pond and new skateboard park area.
The disc golf course and skateboard park are really the best elements of creating a more active community. Both will be free to use, and are reasonably priced activities in terms of gear, making them accessible to anyone wanting fun and exercise.
Into the future the City needs to look at creating more options where people can have exercise without having to dole out big dollars, which limits many from playing hockey, or other sports.
The idea of active is a good one, but it needs to be well planned. The City has a start on that planning, but there is more that needs to be done, including how to promote to get people out using what is already available.