In my quest for more information about North-East Toronto, Canada, specifically Scarborough, here is information about walkability. The City of Toronto has published a report about how easy it is to walk about the city. The theory is that ease of walking contributes to better health and well-being, and therefore better living overall. How does my area of Toronto, heavily biased towards Mainland Chinese, rate on walkability? Overall, not very well.
The Walkability project is interesting to me in that I would rather walk or ride a bike to shop or go places yet I live in the suburbs, a statistically less walkable area of Toronto. While we do have better air and a far greater supply of Chinese groceries, I hope that my neighbourhood’s walkability will increase.
The study reveals an overwhelming preference for walkable and transit-supportive neighbourhoods across the GTA, with that preference being strongest in the City of Toronto. It demonstrated that that there are specific neighbourhood features, such as having shops and services within walking distance of homes, and having a variety of small and medium sized food stores within walking distance of homes, that are strongly desired by Toronto residents. It also found that there is a strong latent demand for more walkable neighbourhood features among residents in the City who currently live in less walkable areas.
The study found that people living in walkable neighbourhoods across the GTA, and in Toronto, do more utilitarian walking, take transit more often, drive less often and less far, and have lower body weights, than those who live in less walkable neighbourhoods. These results suggest that people living in more walkable neighbourhoods in the GTA are more physically active with less chance of developing a chronic disease, than those who live in less walkable neighbourhoods. They also suggest that there may be significant air quality, climate change, and traffic reduction benefits associated with walkable and transit-supportive neighbourhoods.
The City of Toronto report has a lovely graphic outlining the walkability of the whole city. Unfortunately the city is so large and my area of Toronto looks so small on the map that I cannot easily identify my house, neighbourhood and its walkability. Therefore it was important to me to map this walkability graphic to a map of Toronto specifically targetting North-East Scarborough. The Walkability graphic is then superimposed over top of the map of Toronto, thereby showing you roads and other landmarks. Find your house, and the related colours will show you the walkabilty information. The walkabilty information is very blurry because the original graphic is quite small and superimposed over the huge map of Toronto. Zooming onto only a small area of Toronto can only result in a blurry image.