Improving Walking Conditions in Westhampton

Improving Walking Conditions in Westhampton

Westhampton residents participating in the walk audit

On Thursday, July 7th, WalkBoston led a walk audit in the town of Westhampton, MA, joined by three community members representing concerns from residents, the town board, the Council on Aging, Westhampton Connects, and other town organizations. The walk audit took place along Westhampton’s North, South, and Stage roads, which intersect in the town center. Prior to the walk audit, WalkBoston led a virtual Ped101 session that offered introductory knowledge on rural walkability, its importance, and various examples of interventions used to improve the pedestrian experience in rural communities.

Westhampton residents hope to improve walking safety throughout the town, particularly in the town center and along the shoulders of the roads that stretch out of the town. Participants shared a variety of concerns around pedestrian safety in the town, many residents walk in the roads and fast moving traffic along with limited sightlines are dangerous. Participants and WalkBoston staff brainstormed various ideas that might help mitigate these various concerns such as: white striping along the sides of roads to create a dedicated pedestrian area, signage warning of pedestrians and the upcoming central intersection, and speed feedback signs, among others. WalkBoston will soon publish a summary report of the walk audit, offering recommendations to the town for infrastructure improvements and funding opportunities. Westhampton can use these recommendations to make adjustments that support and encourage walking for those of all ages and abilities. 

The Hilltown CDC, together with Healthy Hampshire and WalkBoston, are leading a 5-year grant project to promote Age-Friendly Walkability in the Hilltowns Village Centers, funded by the Dept. of Public Health’s Healthy Aging Fund. In partnership with community residents and leaders, the team will be conducting a series of walk audits in partnering Hilltowns villages. The goal of these walk audits is to identify infrastructure improvements and policy changes to make village center walking safe and enjoyable for people of all ages in the Hilltowns. The town of Westhampton is one of the partnering communities in this grant project.

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