These downtown signs are made for walking

These downtown signs are made for walking
Two thoughts from a weekend spent in downtown Toronto.

I will never complain about road construction in downtown St. Catharines again, and walking is good for you.

Actually, there are a couple of other things the visit made clear, too.

The Blue Jays’ starting pitching stinks, and the Ford family is the gift that keeps on giving for the Toronto news media.

Back to the original musings.

I did not drive into Toronto. I’m a GO Train guy, so indoctrinated since my Oakville teen days.

Still, I bore witness to the road construction chaos near Union Station. Gruesome.

That said, I’m unlikely to stick to my vow to stop lashing out at the inconvenience caused by present and future road work in St. Catharines. Too easy a target. Sorry.

Enough with vehicular traffic woes. Let’s talk walking.

From our downtown hotel, we trekked over to the historic Distillery District, and then backtracked to Harbourfront. Leisurely strolls on a lovely, sunny day.

Which brings me to the news this week about a program designed to make downtown St. Catharines more friendly to pedestrians.

It features signs posted in strategic downtown locations that indicate how long it will take to walk to another downtown destination.

For example, a sign at the Carlisle St. parking garage will indicate how long it takes to walk to Montebello Park, another indicates the time to walk from the train station to the corner of Ontario and St. Paul streets.

OK, I recognize the dangers of speaking about downtown Toronto and downtown St. Catharines in the same breath. Not exactly comparing apples to apples. More like watermelons to plums. But there’s a principle here that applies to both. Walking is a good transit option, made more attractive when the travel time is known.

The walking campaign in St. Catharines is modeled after one launched last year in Raleigh, N.C. It was promoted to St. Catharines city council by its downtown development and revitalization committee.

Committee member Robin McPherson said the Walk Your City initiative helps in “breaking the barrier that everything is far away, or you have to park right in front of where you are going.”

Well put.

I particularly like the attempt to address our parking fears.

For some reason, it’s acceptable to walk vast distances in a mall parking lot, yet there’s an expectation of walking no more than a block to a destination when parking downtown.

Overcoming this ingrained belief will prove valuable when the new performing arts centre and spectator facility open.

There is little, if any, on-site parking for either venue. This may not be a big deal for the arts centre. After all, it’s only an opera singer’s yodel from the Carlisle St. parking garage.

Some consternation has been expressed, though, about how far several thousand people might have to walk from their vehicles to the puck palace in the old canal valley.

To me, the consternation is misplaced. The walk will be eminently doable.

These new signs should help put spectators minds at ease by providing an estimated time of arrival from their parking spots.

Indeed, I foresee the opportunity to gently guide pedestrians to the arena through the a series of signs.

“15 minutes to spectator facility.”

“Only 10 more minutes!”

“Keep breathing, just five minutes to go!”

“Two minutes. C’mon, you can do it!”

“Arena entrance to left; oxygen tent to right.”

Don’t worry. I’m sure by the end of the first year there’ll be no need for the tent.

But the Jays’ pitching will still stink.

In Other News

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    Be a part of the 2nd Annual WalkSTC - YOUR Downtown Photo Exhibit! Walking allows you to see things that are a blur if you’re driving. You’re able to walk down alleyways, see the details of buildings and meet those folks that help to make up the colourful mosaic of our city.  

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  • Walk STC - YOUR Downtown Photo Exhibit

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  • These downtown signs are made for walking

    These downtown signs are made for walking

    Two thoughts from a weekend spent in downtown Toronto.

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  • Walk [Your City] Comes To St. Catharines

    Walk [Your City] Comes To St. Catharines

    St. Catharines councillors have unanimously approved a new program designed to make downtown more friendly to pedestrians.

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