The Shuswap, British Columbia – The evidence is becoming too compelling to ignore: how we design our communities for travel has a direct impact on how healthy we are – and, it seems, how wealthy. As the annual Bike-to-Work-and-School week approaches (May 30th – June 3rd), the local planning group in Salmon Arm is inviting residents throughout the Shuswap to use the entire month of May to highlight the benefits of walking and cycling.
A growing body of research is demonstrating that people are more likely to be physically active in neighborhoods and towns that adopt active design standards that encourage walking and cycling as a primary transportation option. And those communities also seem to be realizing economic benefits in the form of increased property values, more resilient business districts, reduced health care spending, and lower infrastructure costs.
Several notable planning efforts in the Shuswap are setting a path toward healthier transportation options. These include the Enderby-Splatsin Active Transportation Plan, Sicamous’s Age and Dementia Friendly Community Planning, Salmon Arm’s Greenway Strategy and Bicycle Connector Planning, the CSRD’s Area Parks Plans, Chase’s discussion to develop a Walking Master Plan, and the Shuswap Regional Trails Strategy.
“Participating in these planning initiatives is critical to ensure walking and cycling is a priority,” says Phil McIntyre-Paul with the Shuswap Trail Alliance, pointing to the excellent resources on active transportation on Interior Health’s website under Planning for Healthier Communities. For a feedback tool on bicycle connector planning visit the Shuswap Trail Alliance website.
Bike Month events and group rides encourage local residents to get their bicycles out and use some pedal time to think about how Shuswap communities might retrofit their community to make walking and cycling easier. Check out shuswapbike.com. Register for Bike to Work Week at www.biketowork.ca/Shuswap
And mark next Saturday, May 14th, down for a full on street festival of everything cyclical at the Annual Salty Street Fest on Hudson Street, Salmon Arm. Check the details online at saltystreetfest.com.
The Shuswap Bike Month team includes the Shuswap Bike Club, Downtown Salmon Arm, Salmon Arm Economic Development, Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce, Shuswap Tourism, the Shuswap Trail Alliance, Shuswap Events, and Skookum Cycle and Ski.