Now that the temperature is finally rising, it’s time to get out and walk. I’ve gotten lazy over the winter (and a newborn was a great excuse not to go outside in -40 Ottawa weather), but now the snow is melting and the sidewalks are clear. I’m not phasing out my car just yet, but my sixth act of sustainable living will be to leave the car behind anytime I’m travelling within a 30 minute walk of my house (with the exception of my big grocery run every two weeks…I don’t want to set myself up for failure).
I’ve been out walking quite a bit more over the past week – to the library, post office and to the grocery store anytime I only needed a few things. Although I have more time during the day, my trips are still limited to between one and two hours (between feedings and diaper changes), so I’ve found that trip planning is necessary to avoid going in circles and wasting time. Ottawa has a good walk score overall, but not all neighbourhoods are the same. My neighbourhood, for example, is a lovely place to walk with tree-lined streets and nice sidewalks; but this isn’t the main reason for its walk score. Walk score is derived from the number of amenities within a walking distance as well as how safe it is to walk (e.g., are there sidewalks, traffic concerns, a low crime rate?). Many municipalities are now turning to walk scores as a measure of livability in urban settings and this is definitely a great step towards sustainable cities.