We all know that walking offers a number of benefits, whether for our health, the environment or community togetherness, walk-friendly neighbourhoods and cities are among the most desirable places to live around the world. The Fisher Heights and area
community on the other hand, offers its residents little incentive to get out and get active, whether because of poor lighting, insufficient lighting or an increase in cut-through traffic.
On November 17, the Safer Streets committee held its inaugural public meeting at Fisher Heights Community Place to gather information and begin the process of tackling these very issues. Led by FHACA board member Stéphane Audet and community resident Hans Moor, and presentations by Hans and resident Terrence Lonergan, nearly three dozen community residents spent the evening discussing the key safety issues in our community and how best to combat them. The aim of the Safer Streets Committee is to develop a feasible safety redevelopment strategy that can be brought to the City for improvements over the short and long term.
The key areas of concern among our residents are chiefly the speeding traffic through the major cut-through arteries (e.g. Farlane, Burris Lane, Beaver Ridge, and Walford), insufficient street lighting, and a lack of connecting sidewalks. Remedies for these issues are many and varied, and those remedies are going to be the major focus of the committee moving forward.
While every neighbourhood requires has its own individual characteristics that make it work, there are several key elements common to all successful neighbourhood with high walkability scores, including:
- A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a center, whether it’s a main street or a public space.
- People: Enough people for businesses to flourish and for public transit to run frequently.
- Mixed income, mixed use: Affordable housing located near businesses.
- Parks and public space: Plenty of public places to gather and play.
- Pedestrian design: Buildings are close to the street, parking lots are relegated to the back.
- Schools and workplaces: Close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.
- Complete streets: Streets designed for bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit.
Residents and the committee left the November 17 meeting feeling confident about the road ahead. Key areas of concern were identified, potential remedies have begun to be thought of, and the framework for a sound plan has been laid out.
Stay tuned to the website and community newsletters for dates of the 2016 committee meetings. All residents are welcome, and we encourage you to reach out to the Association with your comments and feedback on this initiative.