Walkability is a measure of how pedestrian-friendly a city is. In this age of densely populated cities, never-ending traffic jams and the ever-increasing cost of gas, many people are opting to live in areas where they can either walk to where they need to be or take public transport that is convenient, effective and affordable.
Walk Score is a service which identifies how easy it is to accomplish tasks in a given city on foot and it gave Vancouver a score of 78 out of 100, making Vancouver the most walkable city in Canada. The entire city is well interconnected with amenities and jobs nearby, however, the West End, Downtown and Strathcona were identified as the Vancouver neighbourhoods that were the most accessible on foot. Downtown, in particular, has been referred to as “walker's paradise” with plenty of green spaces, high-density housing and brilliantly designed cycling routes. The cities that came in second and third were Toronto and Montreal. People are willing to pay premium prices for property in walkable areas. Cities with high walkability scores see higher rent payments - up to $300 more than other areas. A study run on Vancouver residents showed that 50% of the residents would much rather live in an area with travel distances of less than three miles to their most-travelled destinations even if it meant living in a smaller area and 65% of the residents stated that they want to live within 10-minute walk of everything that they need. The demand for such walkable cities is so high that real estate in such areas is snapped up quickly and supply is falling short of demand.
Health is also a major factor that makes people decide to walk rather than use cars. One study run by a Utah group showed that people weighed an average of up to 10 pounds lighter in cities that ranked high in walkability. The most walkable cities in the world correspond closely with the rankings for the fittest cities in the world.
Public Transport in Canada's Walkable Cities
Walking is a great way to keep yourself fit while you get around your city however it may not be practical for long distances. Walkable cities need good public transport options if they are going to keep their population happy without cars and Toronto's public transport system aims to do just that. Most people hate Toronto's public transit system, but it is the most extensive system in Canada with the shortest waiting times.
The TTC in Toronto is not everyone's favourite mode of transport, however, the streetcar and bus systems are the envy of cities around the world. The systems are so well coordinated that you can get to most places in the city that are too far to walk to with a single fare and in many cases with a single ride. If you wish to live in Montreal then the Metro will be your best bet, Vancouver's SkyTrain keeps people moving and Ottawa has the O-Train.
Fares on these systems are fairly affordable however if you choose where to live wisely, and get lucky with the availability, you may never have to use them because everything that you need to live a happy life will be close enough to walk to without breaking a sweat.
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