Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Walking, biking trails to make travel safer
Quality of life is an important factor is any city. This rather vague, all-encompassing term applies to many elements, spanning from crime rates and pollution levels to the accessibility of parks and recreation facilities.
In Victoria, the city's development services and parks and recreation departments are doing their share to improve our city's quality of life by drafting a hike-and-bike master plan, named Paseo de Victoria. The plan is not finished and will not be presented to the city for approval until at least April, but the concept is exciting to see.
We have encouraged the city to look for ways to make Victoria a more pedestrian-friendly city for years. The creation of the Lone Tree Hike and Bike Trail was a good start, but there are many areas in Victoria that need to be more accessible to pedestrians.
It is true, Victoria was at least partially shielded from the Great Recession, but there are always those who cannot afford a car or simply prefer to walk or ride their bicycle to their destination. For these people, going from place to place can be inconvenient and dangerous if a sidewalk or bicycle lane is not available. By creating this master plan, the city is taking steps to make travel more convenient for everyone, not just drivers, as well as offering safe places for those who want to exercise by walking or riding their bikes.
The city has already made some improvements on sidewalks. As streets such as Sam Houston Drive and Laurent Street were repaved, the city has added or improved sidewalks alongside the streets. Now, the city has the beginnings of a plan that can encompass the entire city and create a web of sidewalks and on-street bike routes, as well as lighting, rest areas, maps, signs and exercise stations.
The plan is meant to be a gradual change that can adjust as Victoria grows over the years. We are glad to see this plan beginning to take shape. Victorians have gone too long with only a few options to safely exercise outside of a gym. We encourage the city to continue developing this plan. By offering residents a safer way to travel and exercise, the city can boost the quality of life for everyone. We hope this plan can progress soon.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.