I spent the past weekend “winterizing my commute”. This didn’t mean putting on my snow tires; rather, I made sure that the trail I walk to work (and home for lunch) each day will be passable in the rainy, snowy months to come. A pair of tree loppers, a bit of scrap wood, and an investment of some spare time were all it took. Now a couple of bridges get me across the creek behind our office; bark mulch keeps the mud at bay.
It’s a stroke of luck to live so close to work, but it was also my conscious choice to locate the office in Tintown – a vibrant, mixed commercial/residential neighbourhood only 7 minutes’ walk from home. Some weeks I don’t need to get into my car at all.
Obviously, this isn’t everyone’s reality. But it makes sense on a lot of levels to connect the places where people live with the places where they toil each day. It also makes sense to enhance the options for walking or riding around one’s community, and to make these options more enjoyable.
Courtenay seems to be in the grip of some sort of pavement manufacturer’s lobby. It has massively wide streets, intermittent sidewalks that end suddenly and resume across the road, city blocks that are literally a mile around, and busy streets with no sidewalks at all. Pedestrian-friendly, it’s not.
Another change that needs to happen sooner rather than later is the densification of our urban centres. Expanded housing in downtown Courtenay/Comox may be the only thing that will save these areas from the big box invasion.
If any of this resonates with you, then it’s time to have your say. Whenever there’s a civic election where you live, please support candidates who think outside of the (big) box and who support viable, thriving civic centers with walkable streets. We’ll all be the happier and healthier for it.