The Sarnia Journal has partnered with the nuSarnia Foundation to feature a series of stories promoting active transportation and community wellness.
By: The nuSarnia Foundation
At the heart of a lively street lies a fundamental principle: prioritizing people. For decades, traffic engineers have focused on “improving” streets by widening them, prioritizing traffic flow over everything else.
Sidewalks that were once so full of life and vitality, become narrows paths, often with barely enough space to accommodate pedestrians.
The result? A gradual disappearance of street life on sidewalks and a devastation loss within out communities. A loss of social and economic wealth and maybe even pride in the place we call home.
To truly shape our communities around people and places, we must upend the planning process, focusing initially on revitalizing sidewalks. This often entails expanding and enhancing sidewalks to not only accommodate walkers but to also facilitate an array of activities that contribute to a thriving social fabric: from sidewalk tables and bustling cafes to vibrant outdoor shop displays, lively buskers, inviting benches, and ample space to pause for a friendly chat.
The second step involves creating streets with a more inviting ambiance, where traffic speeds and volume do not suffocate but enrich social interactions. Implementing traffic calming measures, embracing shared streets, temporarily closing off streets to traffic, and enhancing intersection safety for all users are pivotal strategies to nurture better public spaces within our communities.
The power of street life can connect us all together — across ages, cultures, incomes, and faiths. Cities that prioritize social life (and consequently, local economic vitality) have succeeded in creating some of the most people-friendly streets imaginable. They’ve transformed mere streets into vibrant plazas, lively squares, and bustling markets — often starting as experimental, pop-up prototypes.
Outstanding sidewalks aren’t fixed in stone; they evolve and adapt, becoming dynamic places that beckon you to return time and time again.
nuSarnia is a passionate group of social entrepreneurs committed to making Sarnia the best it can be – a vibrant, lively city where people are excited to live, work, play and learn. We are committed to raising awareness, sharing knowledge, acquiring wisdom, fostering collaboration and attentively listing to create a more connected, active and healthy community.