The City of Merritt recently invited residents to fill out a survey to provide input regarding active modes of transportation, and where the city could improve.
Active transportation is defined as using your own power to get from one place to another: this could include walking, cycling, rollerblading, skateboarding or even skiing or skating.
The city was able to pull in 164 responses, having offered up the questions from mid-June to early July.
Despite the survey offering up some universal questions when speaking on activity, cycling and walking mostly dominated the topics.
Just 15-percent of Merrittonians, according to the results, bike or walk to work: seven-percent bike, eight-percent walk.
85-percent drive, whether that be alone or in a carpool with co-workers.
In terms of recreation, four-percent of respondents said they ride their bikes daily, while the majority of the population either never ride a bike or ride only a few days per month.
Some light was shed on why these numbers are so low by another offered question, with the majority saying that it is due to a lack of separation from car traffic. More respondents ticked off that they felt mostly unsafe cycling around town (37-percent) than mostly safe (34-percent).
Bike lanes and paved trails seem to be hot-ticket items to get Merrittonians pedalling.
Another aspect of the cycling lifestyle that Merrittonians seem to think is missing is a sufficient amount of bike parking: when asked where around town more bike parking is needed, the vast majority answered either downtown or at the grocery stores.
Don McArthur, the city’s Planning and Development Services Manager, said the recently proposed zoning bylaw change would allow for businesses to install more bicycle parking, helping to alleviate the issue.
When it comes to walking, the results are fairly positive. 37-percent replied that they walk daily, though similarly to the cycling community, walkers would like to see more trails and sidewalks.
As for all aspects of society, COVID-19 has made a significant impact on Merritt’s active lifestyle scene: though, seemingly, a positive one.
36-percent answered that they are running, hiking, cycling, and walking more than they did before the pandemic. There have also been results in less car pollution, with 45-percent indicating that they are driving less due to working from home.
The respondents to the survey were fairly evenly balanced in age groups 19+.