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Reconnecting Sarnia for future generations

Published on

Public feedback for the city’s Active Transportation Master Plan (ATMP) closes this month.

By Demetrius Ribeiro de Paula

In today’s digital era, the rise of technology and artificial intelligence presents both opportunities and challenges to the innate human experience. While these advancements have revolutionized many facets of our lives, there is an underlying concern that they might overshadow the essential qualities that make us human.

It’s not so much fear that AI will take over humanity, but rather, the notion that we, as individuals, are becoming increasingly machine-like in our day-to-day behaviours.

The screens that constantly engage our attention, the animosity arising from online interactions, and our passive consumption of information erode our cognitive abilities to think and problem-solve independently. Our intrinsic abilities for compassion, intuition, and critical thinking are at risk of being diminished by an over-reliance on technology.

Furthermore, as we become more engrossed in the digital realm, there’s a pressing need to reconnect with the tangible world around us. Active Transportation—such as walking, cycling, and other forms of human-powered transport—emerges as a pivotal alternative to this predicament.

By promoting these modes of travel, not only do we advocate for physical health and environmental sustainability, but we also foster opportunities for genuine human interactions and community bonding.

Our children and communities deserve the chance to experience the world beyond screens—to breathe fresh air, ride bikes, partake in physical activities, and engage in genuine face-to-face interactions in public spaces. Embracing Active Transportation can serve as a bridge, guiding us back to the very essence of our humanity while promoting a balanced approach to progress.

Numerous studies robustly affirm the multitude of societal benefits yielded by prioritizing active transportation. Such a strategic focus nurtures a spectrum of positive outcomes, encompassing enhanced public health, diminished traffic congestion, reduced emissions, bolstered safety, and a thriving social interconnectedness. This harmonizes profoundly with the principles of Prosociality, fostering a culture where behaviours gracefully transcend individualism, radiating a conscientious regard for the broader tapestry of societal well-being and communal flourishing.

The City of Sarnia is on the cusp of a transformative journey, developing an Active Transportation Master Plan (ATMP) that aspires to sculpt the city’s paths, trails, and cycling lanes for the next two decades. We are all invited to be a part of this pivotal moment and to share our valuable input through an online survey.

In this collaborative space, we have the power to shape the ATMP with our collective insights and experiences. Together, we can refine the proposed cycling network, suggesting strategic modifications to cycle link positions to enhance accessibility and overall utility.

We can pinpoint areas where cycle links might be added or removed, ensuring the plan resonates with our shared experiences and needs (i.e., lighting and safety concerns). Our vision will also influence the network’s design, allowing us to discuss and decide whether separated infrastructures, shared streets, or protected lanes best align with our community’s needs and aspirations.

We can contribute to the Master Plan by:

1. Visiting https://www.speakupsarnia.ca/ATMP before October 30th.

2. Create an account if you haven’t already done so.

3. Click on the map survey, then zoom in on neighbourhoods or areas of the city where you frequently spend time and share your unique feedback by Adding a Pin to the map.

The ATMP is a canvas where our voice can paint the pathways of our city’s next generations and can be one of the keystones to cultivate a more human, socially vibrant, and environmentally sustainable Sarnia.

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