Hi! Welcome to Streets for People Collingwood. We're glad you're here.
When we say "Streets for People", what are you imagining? Who comes to mind as someone who deserves to feel welcome and included in our community when they are moving around on our largest set of shared public space? For me, it's my young daughters. They already love riding their bikes, scooters and anything else they can get their hands on, but whenever we need to leave our Town's trails and venture onto the streets in Collingwood, the joy of active travel is weighed down by a sense of constant anxiety for their safety.
During our regular trips to school, my oldest daughter, who at the time of this writing has just turned 7 years old, have been honked at, yelled at, cursed at and nearly stuck by people driving who either didn't see us or didn't care enough about our safety to stop. The way that we have designed and built our streets for the past 60 years has created an expectation that streets are for cars, and the aggressive behaviour and callous disregard for a child's safety that is shown by some people when they get behind the wheel is a direct result of that system - but it doesn't have to be this way.
Across North America, communities of all shapes and sizes are realizing the value of prioritizing people rather than cars on some of their streets. Whether it's the stunning success of Banff's Bear Avenue, which was completely closed to vehicles, the strong benefits being realized in Smith's Falls, Ontario where their downtown saw a separated bike lane added with reconstruction efforts, or the growth of School Streets initiatives around the world where the blocks in front of schools are closed to traffic at pick up and drop off times, communities everywhere are realizing that by taking just a bit of space back from cars, they stand to gain a whole lot as a community.
Collingwood could, in a few short years, be the best place to ride a bike for either transportation or recreation in all of Ontario. With our compact urban form, extensive trails network and existing culture of physical activity and outdoor recreation, we a re a community that is primed to take walking, cycling and wheeling to the next level. But we need the political will to make it happen. And that's where Streets for People comes in.
Streets for People aims to bring together all of the voices that want to see a more accessible, walkable and bikeable Collingwood. We will host regular walks and rides to build community, alert our members when there are issues coming forward at Council that need their voice, and will work to create positive momentum towards a Collingwood where walking, biking and wheeling are safe and joyful for all.
We hope you'll join us. We're excited for the ride.