Council approves multi-use path guidelines
Molly Gibson Kirby http://www.thompsoncitizen.net/authors?author=Molly%20Gibson%20Kirby / Thompson Citizen December 30, 2014 11:32 AM
The multi-use pathways around the city of Thompson now come complete with guidelines to help residents know what is allowed on these walkways. Northern Regional Health Authority (NRHA) health promotion co-ordinator Bruce Krentz and Michael Isaac, medical officer of health in Winnipeg, spoke about active transportation during the Dec. 15 council meeting.
“I firmly believe we need to write the good news story that we want to read someday. So I’ve written a news story that I hope to read in the *Thompson Citizen* on Dec. 15, 2024, 10 years from now.” Says Isaac.
In the make-believe article, Isaac touched on areas that Thompson currently, in 2014, is succeeding at. This included the first health summit. “What the community told us that we needed to work together to create a community where making the healthy choice is the easy choice and create opportunities for every resident to be healthy.”
Isaac says Thompson was one of the first communities in the region to recognize the importance of active transportation, such as the multi-use pathways. Since then, active transportation has become the number one recommendation in the master parks plan, and it’s one of the key themes in the sustainable community plan. “These active transportation networks allow people to use their own power to get around, decreasing the amount of time they are sitting. They also separate car and truck traffic from cyclists and pedestrians, reducing the chance of injury.” These pathways, Isaac says, are well-connected, well-maintained, easily navigated and lead to all major sites in the city.
The newly approved guidelines say active transportation uses human power. This includes anything without a motor, with the exception of motorized wheelchairs, such as walking, cycling, in-line skating, skateboarding and skiing.
All users should keep to the right while using the path, and pass on the left, just like a road. There is a speed limit of 20 kilometres an hour, and cyclists must have front and rear reflectors, and warn pedestrians when approaching. A cyclist can do this by using a bell, a horn or the use of a vocal warning.
Krentz said about a year-and-a-half ago, active transportation became a talking point in Thompson. After presentations to the recreation and public works committee, a citizens committee was formed that helped guide it into what it stands for today. “We started to look at our active transportation network on a bigger scale. We were seeing what pieces were maybe missing, what could we change, and stuff like that. We spent a fair bit of time talking about that, and we have since met with the committees. What we’re committed to now is working together to make a five-year plan for the city, so if funding becomes available through the budget process, it’s easy to see where we get from Point A to Point B.”
Isaac says it’s about changing the trajectory of health in the region, all by working together to prevent disease. “We want people to wear out the soles of their shoes, the chains on their bikes, and the wheels on their rollerblades. Thompson is giving the residents every chance to do that with their active transportation networks and commitment to healthy city planning.”
Krentz finished the presentation by saying the active transportation committee wants to work on two major areas - snow clearing and creating bike lanes for this upcoming summer.
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