When you think of the most walkable cities in America, buzzing metropolises such as Washington, D.C., New York City and Boston probably come to mind. But even the city of Mount Hope, W. Va., a tiny Appalachian town with a population of approximately 1,500, has feet hitting the street.
And that’s thanks to Walk [Your City] (WYC), an online tool that allows anyone to create their own signs to promote walking and biking in their communities. For example, you can make a sign that says downtown’s only 32 minutes away on foot or one that says that a beautiful mural is only a 5 minute bike ride away. TreeHugger notes that WYC’s signs (which cost about $25 each) also include a QR code that provides walking directions and also keeps track of who is using them.
Mount Hope plastered these signs around a 2-mile stretch in their downtown in July 2013, and it’s already left a positive impact. Mayor Michael Martin tells WYC that the signs remind residents that it is not too far to walk to their destinations, and they also help change minds about the safety and acceptance of walking. (Check out the video below.)
Sure, it’s easy to jump into your car for a quick trip to the convenience store, but as WYC reminds us on their website, a whole 41 percent of our daily car trips require less than 20 minutes of walking. Sometimes it just takes a small reminder that walking somewhere over driving is a lot better for your health (and for the environment too).
The WYC project, since it started in Raleigh, N.C. in 2012, has grown to more than 45 states, six continents, and 38 countries.
You can create your own walking sign at walkyourcity.org/signbuilder.