There are options for getting around Moose Jaw without starting a vehicle.
But judging by the sheer number of drivers in the city, you’d get the suspicion that gasoline-powered transportation is the only way.
Moose Jaw, as of June, had 26,397 active drivers licenses in the city. That’s nearly 80 per cent of the population.
We’ve all been convinced that we need to have our own transportation here on the prairies. It’s easy to get to Regina or Saskatoon if you have your own ride. And for most trips in western Canada, it’s cheaper to drive than to fly.
It makes sense to have your own vehicle. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to drive it around in the city.
Moose Jaw isn’t a geographically sprawling city. True, the rail yard that divides the city is a bit of a hassle to navigate around, but once you’re crossing that bridge by foot, bike, skateboard or longboard, it’s a gorgeous view and it’s worth it.
We miss out on those moments by driving, and we don’t have to.
What causes us to be discouraged about healthier transportation?
Convenience and status are unforgivable excuses.
Moose Jaw is an easy city to walk around – downtown especially.
The only potential dangers are vehicles, and the more people that walked, the less worries pedestrians would have.
Sure, walking to work or school means having to get up a little earlier than usual, but when you arrive at your destination, you will be awake and vibrant, ready to take on the day.
Rarely do we feel vibrant when we lug ourselves into the car, arrive at work and carry ourselves inside while yawning.
Biking in Moose Jaw is more dangerous than walking. Bikes are considered vehicles and are not to be ridden on sidewalks.
That means bicyclists are delegated to the right-most part of an available driving lane, vulnerable to a quick-opening door of a parked vehicle. It also means that the lane occupied by a person on a bike is unavailable for driving, forcing all vehicles behind to switch lanes and pass.
Bicyclists and motorists sharing lanes isn’t an ideal solution. It can cause frustration and impatience. Someone can get hurt.
There obviously isn’t a high-enough demand for action on this issue. There has to be a need for the city to move forward on designating bike lanes, or coming up with some other productive resolution.
By November – at the latest – bike talk will fade away for another six months. All modes of transportation besides driving will be abandoned as we find our toques, mitts, scarves, boots and jackets.
In Saskatchewan, survival isn’t always the most affordable.
So treasure this time without snow and get yourself to work without using gasoline.
Soon enough, we’ll all be spending time in our vehicles waiting for the windshields to defrost.