01 September 2016

We won't walk to a nearby walking trail #nlpoli

The Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay commissioned a consultant to look at possible future development of a sand pit in a residential area of the town. You can read the report at the town website.

The consultants first held a public meeting open to all town residents.  Then they tried other ways of soliciting opinions, like setting up a booth in the local mall. Then they did a survey of a sample of town residents.

Out of all that, the consultants figured out two interesting things.  First, they "determined that the individuals which would most effected [sic] by the development would live within a 400-meter radius of the area of interest."  Second, they community feedback through all those means told them that 400 metres was also "the maximum distance that the average person would walk to reach a park or recreation area."

400 metres.

In order to get to a place to exercise, the average resident of Happy Valley-Goose Bay would walk no more than 400 metres in order to get there.  otherwise, they either wouldn't go - presumably - or they'd pile in the truck, car, quad or whatever.

Just to put that in context for you,  400 metres is about the distance the average reasonably fit person would walk in about four minutes.  And in case you hadn't quite picked up on this,  walking is a very popular form of... wait for it... exercise.

Forty-two percent of respondents to the research wanted the park for sports and recreation. "One of the most popular suggestions,"  the consultants wrote, "was the development of a walking and running trail. ... [This] trail be designed so that it is accessible to all age groups – with special consideration for seniors with mobility issues. There were also suggestions to include a bicycle trail which could be incorporated into the current bicycle trail system within the town."

So there's a major-league disconnect there between people who wanted walking trails and maybe a bike path in the park but the folks most likely to use it wouldn't walk to the damn thing if they lived more than four-minutes' walk away from it.

Make out of that what you want.