LEXINGTON, Ky. — Sometimes small ideas become huge, such as the ‘Walk Your City’ signs which originated in Raleigh but debuted in Kentucky this spring.
The signs emerged from an effort started by a man named Matt Tomasulo. The idea is to make cities more walkable and get people out of their cars.
"Health, the environment, traffic congestion are all, you know, reasons that walkability matters," said Tomasulo.
One of the main reasons that people don’t walk more is perception. Tomasulo’s signs list a destination or activity and then show how long it would take to walk.
"It can encourage people to walk somewhere that they maybe otherwise wouldn't," he said.
The key is showing the distance in minutes, not in miles.
"A half-mile just seems so far, but ten or twelve minutes, oh, I can do that. Minutes is, is a very human scaled metric, meaning like it's very relatable to someone who is on foot or on bike, whereas miles almost seems insurmountable,” said Tomasulo.
The signs are seen as a way a community can increase walkability, without lots of study or capital.
"The signs are really simple. They're corrugated plastic. They're meant to be quick and light and easy and inexpensive,” said Tomasulo.
Installing them is low-impact too. Walk Your City debuted in Lexington, Kentucky this spring. Some cities work directly with the organization, others do it without any assistance.
"We created some really simple software so that anybody can go online and make some very inexpensive signs for their community," said Tomasulo.
The information on the signs will be enough for most, but there are QR codes on each of them as well.
"They can get walking directions there and it has a little bit more information about the campaign and why this is there,” said Tomasulo.
These signs are spreading all over and wherever they appear, people might be just a little more inclined to leave the car in its parking space.
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