FOCUS ON SENIORS: Moving people in an age-friendly manner

Opinion Mar 12, 2016 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

When the World Health Organization (WHO) developed the Age-Friendly Cities Network it contained eight separate and distinct areas of consideration or pillars.

The pillars are outdoor spaces and buildings; transportation; social participation; civic participation and employment; housing; community support and health services; respect and social inclusion; and communication and information.

The Age-Friendly Community Summit, a partnership between Brant MPP Dave Levac and the Grand River Council on Aging, is reviewing eight pillars through a series of gatherings. Four gatherings have taken place to date.

Transportation, or the movement of people from one place to another, was the topic of the second event. Residents of Brantford, the County of Brant and Six Nations identified several major differences in each community.

The City of Brantford is an urban community with a public transit system, including Brantford Lift for physically challenged riders, and various other community transportation services.  

The County of Brant is a rural municipality made up of several smaller communities including Burford, Glen Morris, Harley, Middleport, Mount Pleasant, Oakland, Oakhill, Onondaga, Paris, St. George and Scotland. With the exception of subsidized taxi services for persons with a doctor’s certificate and taxi service in the town of Paris, there are no transportation services.  

Six Nations and New Credit are territories with no formal transportation services. Periodically, an informal van service is provided to take people to Brantford.

Transportation is an important consideration for all residents and the discussion at the gathering was very lively. To facilitate the dialogue, an age-friendly transportation checklist was provided.

The World Health Organization has published checklists to accompany each pillar.  

For transportation, this list states that public transportation should be affordable and accessible. Further, there should be frequent and reliable stops.

In an age-friendly community, buses would be accessible and comfortable and specialized transit would be provided for persons with disabilities. Priority seating would be provided and would be respected by all riders. Drivers would be courteous, knowledgeable and obey all rules of the road. Public transport would be safe from crime and not over-crowded.

The list goes on to suggest that designated transit stops be located in close proximity to where older people live, have seating that is sheltered from the weather and are clean, safe and adequately lit.

Additionally, information should be provided to older people on how to use public transportation and the wide range of options available. Timetables should be legible and indicate the routes available.

In an age-friendly community, transportation services, including volunteer drivers and shuttle buses, should be available to take older people to specific events and places. Taxis should be affordable, with discounts or subsidized fares provided for older people with low incomes. The vehicles should be comfortable and accessible with room for wheelchairs and walkers. Taxi drivers should be courteous and helpful.

Another important area for an age-friendly community is its roads.

They should be well-maintained, wide and well-lit with lights at intersections. Intersections should be clearly marked, with covered drains and have consistent, clearly visible, well-placed signage. Traffic flow would be well regulated and roads would be free of obstructions that might block a driver’s vision. Rules of the road would be strictly enforced and drivers educated to follow and uphold the rules. Refresher driving courses would be offered and well-promoted.

The final consideration in an age-friendly community regarding transportation is its parking. Priority parking bays should be located close to buildings for older adults and those with disabilities.

Clearly, there are many aspects to consider when discussing transportation in any community. At the gathering, participants were encouraged to raise issues or opportunities and to describe the benefits of any suggested changes.

People were talkative and animated and the room buzzed with conversation and dialogue.  Participants spoke with passion from lived experience. There were more than 50 retirees in attendance and each had opportunities to share. They came up with dozens of suggestions and ideas for improvement. However, the issue of transportation cannot be solved in a half-day meeting.

The movement of people from place to place in any community is a challenge that is compounded and multiplied as the population ages. The issues that face rural communities are vastly different than an urban neighbourhood would experience.

An interim report has been published that describes the points raised during the discussion. This report has been distributed to all those who participated in the event and is available upon request. After all eight gatherings have been completed the interim reports will be compiled into one final report.  

This final report will serve as a guiding document to municipalities, planners, builders, government, non-profit organizations, businesses and others considering changes to how they do business in our communities. The gems of wisdom from the voices of lived experience can serve to build a brighter, more promising future for generations to come.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: Moving people in an age-friendly manner

Community summit gathers input on transportation

Opinion Mar 12, 2016 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

When the World Health Organization (WHO) developed the Age-Friendly Cities Network it contained eight separate and distinct areas of consideration or pillars.

The pillars are outdoor spaces and buildings; transportation; social participation; civic participation and employment; housing; community support and health services; respect and social inclusion; and communication and information.

The Age-Friendly Community Summit, a partnership between Brant MPP Dave Levac and the Grand River Council on Aging, is reviewing eight pillars through a series of gatherings. Four gatherings have taken place to date.

Transportation, or the movement of people from one place to another, was the topic of the second event. Residents of Brantford, the County of Brant and Six Nations identified several major differences in each community.

The City of Brantford is an urban community with a public transit system, including Brantford Lift for physically challenged riders, and various other community transportation services.  

The County of Brant is a rural municipality made up of several smaller communities including Burford, Glen Morris, Harley, Middleport, Mount Pleasant, Oakland, Oakhill, Onondaga, Paris, St. George and Scotland. With the exception of subsidized taxi services for persons with a doctor’s certificate and taxi service in the town of Paris, there are no transportation services.  

Six Nations and New Credit are territories with no formal transportation services. Periodically, an informal van service is provided to take people to Brantford.

Transportation is an important consideration for all residents and the discussion at the gathering was very lively. To facilitate the dialogue, an age-friendly transportation checklist was provided.

The World Health Organization has published checklists to accompany each pillar.  

For transportation, this list states that public transportation should be affordable and accessible. Further, there should be frequent and reliable stops.

In an age-friendly community, buses would be accessible and comfortable and specialized transit would be provided for persons with disabilities. Priority seating would be provided and would be respected by all riders. Drivers would be courteous, knowledgeable and obey all rules of the road. Public transport would be safe from crime and not over-crowded.

The list goes on to suggest that designated transit stops be located in close proximity to where older people live, have seating that is sheltered from the weather and are clean, safe and adequately lit.

Additionally, information should be provided to older people on how to use public transportation and the wide range of options available. Timetables should be legible and indicate the routes available.

In an age-friendly community, transportation services, including volunteer drivers and shuttle buses, should be available to take older people to specific events and places. Taxis should be affordable, with discounts or subsidized fares provided for older people with low incomes. The vehicles should be comfortable and accessible with room for wheelchairs and walkers. Taxi drivers should be courteous and helpful.

Another important area for an age-friendly community is its roads.

They should be well-maintained, wide and well-lit with lights at intersections. Intersections should be clearly marked, with covered drains and have consistent, clearly visible, well-placed signage. Traffic flow would be well regulated and roads would be free of obstructions that might block a driver’s vision. Rules of the road would be strictly enforced and drivers educated to follow and uphold the rules. Refresher driving courses would be offered and well-promoted.

The final consideration in an age-friendly community regarding transportation is its parking. Priority parking bays should be located close to buildings for older adults and those with disabilities.

Clearly, there are many aspects to consider when discussing transportation in any community. At the gathering, participants were encouraged to raise issues or opportunities and to describe the benefits of any suggested changes.

People were talkative and animated and the room buzzed with conversation and dialogue.  Participants spoke with passion from lived experience. There were more than 50 retirees in attendance and each had opportunities to share. They came up with dozens of suggestions and ideas for improvement. However, the issue of transportation cannot be solved in a half-day meeting.

The movement of people from place to place in any community is a challenge that is compounded and multiplied as the population ages. The issues that face rural communities are vastly different than an urban neighbourhood would experience.

An interim report has been published that describes the points raised during the discussion. This report has been distributed to all those who participated in the event and is available upon request. After all eight gatherings have been completed the interim reports will be compiled into one final report.  

This final report will serve as a guiding document to municipalities, planners, builders, government, non-profit organizations, businesses and others considering changes to how they do business in our communities. The gems of wisdom from the voices of lived experience can serve to build a brighter, more promising future for generations to come.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: Moving people in an age-friendly manner

Community summit gathers input on transportation

Opinion Mar 12, 2016 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

When the World Health Organization (WHO) developed the Age-Friendly Cities Network it contained eight separate and distinct areas of consideration or pillars.

The pillars are outdoor spaces and buildings; transportation; social participation; civic participation and employment; housing; community support and health services; respect and social inclusion; and communication and information.

The Age-Friendly Community Summit, a partnership between Brant MPP Dave Levac and the Grand River Council on Aging, is reviewing eight pillars through a series of gatherings. Four gatherings have taken place to date.

Transportation, or the movement of people from one place to another, was the topic of the second event. Residents of Brantford, the County of Brant and Six Nations identified several major differences in each community.

The City of Brantford is an urban community with a public transit system, including Brantford Lift for physically challenged riders, and various other community transportation services.  

The County of Brant is a rural municipality made up of several smaller communities including Burford, Glen Morris, Harley, Middleport, Mount Pleasant, Oakland, Oakhill, Onondaga, Paris, St. George and Scotland. With the exception of subsidized taxi services for persons with a doctor’s certificate and taxi service in the town of Paris, there are no transportation services.  

Six Nations and New Credit are territories with no formal transportation services. Periodically, an informal van service is provided to take people to Brantford.

Transportation is an important consideration for all residents and the discussion at the gathering was very lively. To facilitate the dialogue, an age-friendly transportation checklist was provided.

The World Health Organization has published checklists to accompany each pillar.  

For transportation, this list states that public transportation should be affordable and accessible. Further, there should be frequent and reliable stops.

In an age-friendly community, buses would be accessible and comfortable and specialized transit would be provided for persons with disabilities. Priority seating would be provided and would be respected by all riders. Drivers would be courteous, knowledgeable and obey all rules of the road. Public transport would be safe from crime and not over-crowded.

The list goes on to suggest that designated transit stops be located in close proximity to where older people live, have seating that is sheltered from the weather and are clean, safe and adequately lit.

Additionally, information should be provided to older people on how to use public transportation and the wide range of options available. Timetables should be legible and indicate the routes available.

In an age-friendly community, transportation services, including volunteer drivers and shuttle buses, should be available to take older people to specific events and places. Taxis should be affordable, with discounts or subsidized fares provided for older people with low incomes. The vehicles should be comfortable and accessible with room for wheelchairs and walkers. Taxi drivers should be courteous and helpful.

Another important area for an age-friendly community is its roads.

They should be well-maintained, wide and well-lit with lights at intersections. Intersections should be clearly marked, with covered drains and have consistent, clearly visible, well-placed signage. Traffic flow would be well regulated and roads would be free of obstructions that might block a driver’s vision. Rules of the road would be strictly enforced and drivers educated to follow and uphold the rules. Refresher driving courses would be offered and well-promoted.

The final consideration in an age-friendly community regarding transportation is its parking. Priority parking bays should be located close to buildings for older adults and those with disabilities.

Clearly, there are many aspects to consider when discussing transportation in any community. At the gathering, participants were encouraged to raise issues or opportunities and to describe the benefits of any suggested changes.

People were talkative and animated and the room buzzed with conversation and dialogue.  Participants spoke with passion from lived experience. There were more than 50 retirees in attendance and each had opportunities to share. They came up with dozens of suggestions and ideas for improvement. However, the issue of transportation cannot be solved in a half-day meeting.

The movement of people from place to place in any community is a challenge that is compounded and multiplied as the population ages. The issues that face rural communities are vastly different than an urban neighbourhood would experience.

An interim report has been published that describes the points raised during the discussion. This report has been distributed to all those who participated in the event and is available upon request. After all eight gatherings have been completed the interim reports will be compiled into one final report.  

This final report will serve as a guiding document to municipalities, planners, builders, government, non-profit organizations, businesses and others considering changes to how they do business in our communities. The gems of wisdom from the voices of lived experience can serve to build a brighter, more promising future for generations to come.