Column: A step towards walkability

Damien Salahieh, Cartoonist

Google Maps calculates the two milewalk from MHS to Fitness Pointe to take 40 minutes. However, anyone who lives in Munster can tell you that it is not feasible to walk. If you put time it takes to walk aside, you would still be left hobbling through grass due to the sidewalk randomly stopping in front of Centennial Village. Though this is no issue to anyone who owns an automobile, it remains an issue for kids and anyone else who has no other choice but to walk.

At first glance, this only appears to be a nuisance and nothing more. Why walk or bike when you could drive? But the solution to this minor problem could benefit you: walkability. Take the college town Bloomington. The town has a two-way bike path on busy streets for residents and free public transit for students.  A study done by Arup, a group of engineers dedicated to worldwide sustainability, showed that walkability within towns and cities can majorly improve your personal health. People who are aged 60 or older decrease their chances of an earlier death by 22% if they walk for 15 minutes a day. 

 Walkability has also proven useful for the environment, as it lowers carbon emissions and reduces air pollution. Cars are not accessible to everybody and are becoming even harder to obtain. Simply adding sidewalks or bike lanes can make life easier for pedestrians and might encourage people to exercise more. These changes will take time, but they will actually give people the opportunity to walk around Munster.