The City of Selkirk, Man., is unveiling an ambitious plan to link the entire city via active transportation pathways.
Mayor Larry Johannson says the ultimate goal is to eventually have every resident within two sidewalk blocks of one of the pathways.
“What this does in our community is it takes a lot of the stress off the streets, so the streets last longer, it’s better for the environment, absolutely, and a key one is it’s better for people for their health,” says Johannson.
The project will take until at least 2025, but the Active Transportation (AT) Strategy, which city council just approved, will help design and manage the infrastructure well into the future.
In addition to the health and cost benefits, Johannson says the city wants to do its part to become more environmentally friendly.
“We don’t want to talk the talk, we want to walk the walk. So we’re a small community, but you know what? We’re going to do our share, and active transportation pathways are a huge part of it,” Johannson says.
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Selkirk already has 2.5 kilometers of active transportation pathways that take the form of bike lanes, multi-use pathways and recreational pathways, along with 56 km of sidewalk.
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The city plans to add about 3.6 km of new AT pathways beginning next year.
In a press release, CAO Duane Nicol says the pathways will end up paying for themselves and then some.
“Study after study shows that active transportation saves significant dollars primarily in health care and transportation. It also allows people to save on household expenses related to vehicle ownership,” Nicol said.
“Moreover, it increases the physical and socio-economic accessibility of our community.”
In addition to linking each area of the city with the other, Johannson says the project will feature an AT pathway parallel to Main Street, so people can walk, jog or bike the entire width of the city.