In many streets and neighborhoods residents exchange information via the Internet or other ways. Comments, complaints and suggestions for improving walking can be part of this seamlessly. You can all take a role. See existing groups like WhatsApp, www.nextdoor.com or facebook page.
Do you have a meeting or some other programme on a day? Take a break. Organize a short walk in the area, before, in-between or after the programme. Dutch scientist Ingrid Hendriksen: "At some bridge tournaments it is the habit of playing every new round at another location. After one game, everyone walks. And that lasts during all afternoon”.
Dog-sharing and walking can be an opportunity. It benefits the four-legged companion as well as the health of all dogwalkers.
Colleagues take a walk during lunch time. A quarter to three quarters. You can do it on your own too. One staff member says, "If I do not go outside, I'm knocked out at three o'clock. I put up energy for the rest of the day. There's a big and a small round”. A colleague, "Lunch walks happen when more trees and green areas and shops are close nearby". The number of walkers increases. In the United States, for example, but also in the Netherlands.
Numerous individual walkers and organizations have devised routes for you. For example: see: www.routeyou.com. There are many routes and suggestions of trails, guides and maps. Like OpenStreetMap: it is a practical app for those who are able to read maps.
Organize your meetings on foot. The results are more productive and fun for the body and mind. You may not always see eye to eye with others. This is usually good for two or three people. In parks or wider routes, you can meet with four or five participants. In The Netherlands many ready-made routes and practical tips are available. See www.weeting.nl (= meeting + walking)
In the Dutch city of Groningen a red carpet is rolled out for pedestrians. This can be done especially on days when walking areas are blocked by bikes, sellers or moveable advertising. You too can roll out a red carpet.
Easy to do. When someone else has recently written about a topic concerning walkers. Wherever. Take out the texts that you have already written and that are ready made, and put in parts that fit in this particular reaction. As an extra, tell something new or bring in some humor.
Derk van der Laan, in his book (later this year), writes about how your mind and body benefit from simple walking. How you save money and increase business opportunities; how the government defines and encourages walking; how citizens take initiative. He writes about what needs to be done to get more attention to walking and sustain it. You can sign up to buy the book when it is published.
Calculate how profitable walking is. No petrol and parking costs, and less tickets for buses and trams. Imagine what you could to do with this extra money as a reward.
Don`t say to children “Let’s go for a walk”. Instead you can say: “We will do something fun and exciting”. Or “Let's discover caves!" Or: “Let`s go to find exciting plants”. For 7 to 16-year olds, suggest that they make a program called ‘Walking with my parents’. This could include climbing towers or a spectacular treasure hunt. Another example is the Dutch Four Evenings March (Avondvierdaagse), early evenings in spring, a walk of several kilometers every day. Children enjoy the walks in large groups and are proud of their medals.
Safetipin, an India based organization developed an app to check the safety of neighborhoods. This app is based on data collected in many parts of Delhi and other Indian cities. User opinions come together. The app tells if neighborhoods are safe or not.
Follow the example of a group of citizens in the city of Gurgaon (India). Since 2013 they have been organizing a car free area on Sundays in some of the roads. Generous space is offered for safe walking, cycling and entertainment for half a day. This first car-free Sunday initiative has been an inspiration to other cities, like Bhopal and Mumbai.
The organization PPS provides friendly layouts of streets, squares and routes. It is based in the US, but helps to reorganize and flourish public spaces anywhere. It (www.pps.org) collects best practices and helps stakeholders. With planning, via design to realization and maintenance.
Jane`s Walks (www.janeswalk.org) organizes special walks and makes an event of it. Participants enjoy themselves and benefit from meeting other walkers. Insiders provide tips on the neighborhood, sharing shortcuts and unknown spots. Sometimes residents meet their neighbors for the first time, share stories and aspirations. Commonalities are discovered.
The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a US based organization, buys land under neglected walkways and fixes paths. Citizens begin cleaning up debris, and then mobilize others who can contribute to construct paths.
With other walkers, you can rate which streets are friendly to walkers and which are not. Give a 'plus' or 'minus' with arguments to support your rating. By mapping each neighborhood, district and town, a clear picture emerges. A plan of action containing “More plus, less minus” made by the city council or the district manager is a logical continuation.
Your association or club could experience unsafe, unpleasant walking spaces. Make a note and see if there is a solution. Take pictures of the situation.
Joining forces in a federation, association or other partnership encourages walking. An effective network organization shows the needs of walkers and runners. At a national (or state) level such an initiative ensures daily walking on the agendas of governments, companies and the media. Often, setting up local groups is the start of a widespread movement.
Zebra crossings are wonderful. They offer a sense of security if traffic is not driving too fast. As a group you can ensure that there will be more pedestrian crossings. Ineke Spapé is an expert. See www.soab.nl. Start with a zebra scan: count how many cars, bicycles and pedestrians pass in this road. Calculate how fast they go. Then do a publicity campaign "Stop at the zebra”. Children (also the older ones) wear an animal costume, and together the group creates a joyful event. Have also an opening party on the spot when the zebra is ready for use.
You tend to walk more if you don`t have a car. It also frees up space around your home. Cars take up space and cost money in terms of insurance, taxes, etc.
A child with too little experience on walking and being unable to explore in the open is lacking education. Such a kind of a nature deficit can be avoided. Judie Hains made a list of basic skills needed by every 18 year old child. Hains sees too much: "We accompany or drive our children everywhere, even when their feet or their bicycle could get them there". Her advice: "Kids at eighteen should know how to cope with transportation options, how to make and execute plans".