In my last column, I discussed using the bus for my commute to work as a way to reduce gas costs. I recently tried another way of getting to the office that not only saves money, but is great for the environment and for my health. I walked to work.
My home is about four miles from the office. It took me about an hour to get from my home to work, so walking to work everyday would be unrealistic because of my busy schedule. However, on occasions when I have the time, walking as a form of transportation back and forth to work is an excellent alternative to driving.
In addition to getting you where you need to go, walking has many health benefits. The Mayo Clinic reports on its website that walking is a gentle, low impact exercise that can ease you into a higher level of fitness and health. Walking can lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. It can help lower your blood pressure, manage or lower your risk of diabetes and manage your weight. Walking also can improve your mood, the Mayo Clinic claims.
Just be sure, according to the Mayo Clinic, to wear comfortable footwear and choose shoes with proper arch support. Your shoes should have a firm heel and thick, flexible soles to cushion your feet and absorb shock. Mayo recommends walking slowly to warm up your muscles before increasing your pace.
Walking for transportation helps me understand better what some of our clients face everyday. Many Wayne Township clients don’t have cars and don’t have the money to buy bus passes. So, they must walk as their form of transportation or bike if they have a bicycle. And, this means not just walking on nice days, which is what I did, but walking in all types of weather. To calculate how long it would take you to walk to work or to shopping or restaurants, you can figure a walking speed of from 3 to 3.5 miles an hour.
Our Township, and especially the Waynedale area, faces some barriers to walking for transportation. While the City has been working on increasing the walkability of our neighborhoods, many parts of Waynedale don’t have sidewalks. This makes walking slow going when you have to walk on the side of roads watching for traffic. Make sure you always walk facing traffic, so you can move off the road if you have to for your own safety.
I found a website, www.walkscore.com that rates cities and neighborhoods in terms of their walkability. The core of Waynedale, the areas surrounding the intersection of Lower Huntington and Bluffton Roads, scored considerably better than rest of our neighborhood. The scores for those areas were 61 and 52 out of 100 points, with 100 being the most walkable. Many areas of Waynedale did poorly on the index. For example, the Kyle Road neighborhood scored only 15 points out of 100 and the Elmhurst neighborhood didn’t do much better at 19 points. The entire City of Fort Wayne ranked only 42 out of 100.
One place I definitely plan to be walking this coming Memorial Day is the Waynedale Memorial Day Parade. The Memorial Day Parade is one of my favorite annual events because it celebrates the spirit of Waynedale residents coming together to honor our Veterans and military families. My office has participated in the parade every year that I have served as your Trustee, and we are excited to participate again this year. If you see me on the parade route, make sure to say “hello” as I try to greet as many persons as possible and to personally thank the veterans.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend.
Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.
Wayne Township Trustee
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