THUNDER BAY - The city has taken some significant steps toward becoming a more walkable community, but the city mobility coordinator is hoping specialized training will allow him to move the city even further, one step at a time.
Adam Krupper, mobility coordinator with the city of Thunder Bay, has been awarded a fellowship with the Walking College, a non-profit organization based in the United States that provides training in developing more walkable communities.
“I think me getting accepted into this program comes just at the right time because it’s going to help me take the tools we already have in our community and harness them the best that we can and maximize our existing policy and proposed policies,” Krupper said.
With the installation of three crossovers in the last year, Krupper believes the city is moving in the right direction when it comes to being more walkable.
“If you look at our new transportation master plan, it has wording and policies to further improve walkability," he said.
Krupper is the only Canadian accepted into the Walking College program this year, which includes a six-module distance education training program this summer, as well as an independent study project and mentorship. The costs of the program are covered by the fellowship.
“I think it will be really interesting to get this systematic approach to developing a walking action plan,” Krupper said. “As we go through the plan and develop the plan, I’m sure there are going to be questions that arise out of it that I have never thought of and don’t know the answer for.”
But finding those answers is one of the things Krupper is looking forward to the most because even if the city is moving in the right direction when it comes to becoming a more walkable community, there could be many other improvements that have not been considered before.
“I wonder if through this program I will learn more subtle things that we can be doing to improve the walking experience for people,” Krupper said. “That is what I am interested in learning. Sidewalks are great, they are an important part of walking, but are they the be all end all? Maybe not necessarily. Maybe there are other things we can be doing as a community to create really walkable neighbourhoods.”
There are already many groups and individuals in the city working towards creating a more walking friendly community, including EarthCare and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit Walkability Committee, and Krupper said he looks forward to continuing to work with them each step of the way.
“I think they deserve a lot of credit for persevering and for all their initiatives and dedication,” Krupper said. “Without them spearheading walking for so many years, I wouldn’t have heard of this program and wouldn’t have gone for it. I have this opportunity because of them.”