Category: Walk Audit

D.W. Field Park Walk Audit Report with Wildlands Trust’s Green Team – Brockton, MA

D.W. Field Park Walk Audit Report with Wildlands Trust’s Green Team – Brockton, MA

A walk audit was conducted in Brockton on August 16th in collaboration with the Wildlands Trust Green Team, a youth service-learning program that employs 15 teens from the Brockton area to work on projects at D.W. Field Park. WalkMassachusetts facilitators worked with the Green Team to conduct a walk audit of D.W. Field Park, gathering insights and identifying challenges that impact walkability and pedestrian safety. The audit began on Oak Street in Brockton and continued into the park on shared-use roadways and short pedestrian trails. This report aims to provide recommendations and insights to municipal decision-makers and stakeholders connected to D.W. Field Park to make necessary built environment changes that will improve mobility for all park users, particularly pedestrians.

Read the full report.

Roosevelt Ave Walk Audit in Springfield

Roosevelt Ave Walk Audit in Springfield

On Thursday July 20th, WalkMassachusetts joined WalkBike Springfield, Wayfinders, Mass in Motion Springfield, and local residents to complete a Walk Audit of Roosevelt Avenue. After a round of introductions, the group left from Springfield High School of Science & Technology  (SciTech), and continued down Roosevelt before turning back at the Wilbraham Rd intersection.

This walk audit was part of a bigger WalkBike Springfield effort. With support from America Walks and the Safe Roads Alliance, the group is gathering input regarding how people use Roosevelt Avenue, how safe they feel, and what changes they would like to see on the 3.3 mile stretch of Roosevelt in Springfield from Island Pond Road to East Street. This corridor reaches the East Forest Park, Upper Hill, Bay/McKnight and East Springfield neighborhoods. More info can be found here.

Walk Audit participants begin at SciTech with some introductions and friendly conversation.

This stretch of Roosevelt Ave had previously been highlighted by residents as an area of concern, given the many dangers faced by pedestrians, particularly those at SciTech. People driving frequently hurtle down the road at speeds well over 40 mph; there is one sidewalk along the street, and no crosswalk directly connects the school with the sidewalk on Roosevelt.

WalkMassachusetts Deputy Director of Advocacy Brendan Kearney uses a radar gun on Roosevelt Ave, observing speeds well over the legal limit.

Walk Audit participants identified a clear need to implement more traffic calming measures and expand the crosswalk and sidewalk network. Better maintenance of existing pedestrian infrastructure was also discussed, with overgrown vegetation both blocking walkways and obscuring driver views.

Due to Roosevelt Avenue’s high speeds and a lack of crossings, participants chose to wear high visibility vests on this walk audit.

All the written notes, observations, and conversations between WalkMassachusetts and other participants will be instrumental in generating a final report of the audit. The information will allow us to highlight pressing issues in pedestrian safety, supporting advocacy efforts to create a safer Springfield for all.

WalkMassachusetts expresses its gratitude to our collaborating partner organizations, local community members, and MAPC, the funding source for this project. The collective effort demonstrated during the Walk Audit is a significant step towards fostering a more pedestrian-friendly Springfield.

AARP 2023 Community Challenge Grant Announcement!

AARP 2023 Community Challenge Grant Announcement!

“AARP is thrilled to include Walk Massachusetts as part of our Community Challenge Grants this year. Their project in Springfield will empower residents to make their community more accessible and livable for people of all ages.” – Mike Festa, State Director AARP Massachusetts

We are excited to announce that WalkMassachusetts is one of 310 recipients (out of over 3,600 applicants!) of an AARP Community Challenge grant! AARP Community Challenge is a grant program to make tangible improvements in communities that jump-start long-term change. It is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which supports the efforts of cities, towns, neighborhoods and rural areas to become great places to live for people of all ages. To learn more, visit aarp.org/Livable. 

This grant will fund the Walk Audit Academy (WAA), a walk audit training program that we will lead with WalkBike Springfield. WAA was piloted in Worcester with the REACH program, UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center, Health Resources in Action, and funds from the CDC. WAA is an experiential learning theory-based curriculum that guides learners in: 1- discovering and documenting their local transportation and land use decision making context; 2- learning walk auditing basics; 3- developing an action plan; and 4- implementing the action plan. 

WAA includes a video series, produced by WalkMassachusetts, that guides learners in the process of planning, conducting, and summarizing walk audits. It employs a “flipped classroom” model to extend the capacity of WalkMassachusetts and WalkBike Springfield, and enable community groups to engage in co-learning that benefits the entire Springfield community, with emphasis on environmental justice block groups (minority, income, English isolation). WAA walk audits are intended to build community, and collect information about infrastructure conditions that can be shared with elected/appointed officials to improve walking safety, convenience, and comfort. WAA will allow Springfield residents to better participate in their planning and transportation processes, ensuring that local voices are heard. WAA will also help to improve the safety and walkability of Springfield, which in 2021 had 9 fatal pedestrian crashes, the same number as Boston which has a population over 4x that of Springfield. 

Safer streets benefit everyone— however, older adults will benefit from safety improvements the most, as people ages 50+ make up the vast majority (69%) of crash victims in MA (2021, WalkMassachusetts Fatal Pedestrian Crash Report). Improved neighborhood walkability also results in better physical, social and cognitive health for the whole community, and more accessible streetscapes mean more independence for people with disabilities, whose mobility options are most limited.

Thank you again to AARP for their generous support! To learn about the other Community Challenge grantees, visit: www.aarp.org/CommunityChallenge

Worthington and Armory Walk Audit in Springfield

Worthington and Armory Walk Audit in Springfield

On Saturday, May 20, 2023, WalkMassachusetts joined Springfield Mass in Motion, Way Finders and 20 local community members to complete an in-person walk audit. The route covered Armory Street, Taylor Street, Kibbe Avenue, Worthington Street, and Federal Street.

This process focused on sidewalks, crosswalks, pedestrian safety, curb cuts, general access, neighborhood safety, and walkability as well as making observations about green spaces and parks along our route.

The planning decisions for this walk audit, including the walking route and starting location, were made by a group of engaged Springfield residents supported with facilitation from Mass in Motion and Way Finders.

 The next steps include a walk audit draft report that will be shared with participants to make sure their opinions and recommendations were captured before finalizing the report.

Over the years, WalkMassachusetts has been a technical service provider to communities through the Mass in Motion program including many in SpringfieldMass in Motion is a statewide movement that promotes opportunities for healthy eating and active living in cities and towns across the state of Massachusetts. Thank you to MAPC for including us in the work this year.

WalkBoston and Consult LeLa team up for Blue Hill Ave youth workshop

WalkBoston and Consult LeLa team up for Blue Hill Ave youth workshop

Consult LeLa, a consulting group dedicated to encouraging youth involvement in municipal planning processes, partnered with WalkBoston to lead a workshop series on walkability and equitable transit infrastructure, and conduct a walk audit on Blue Hill Ave in Mattapan Square. The goal was to encourage community involvement in the redesign of Blue Hill Ave that will expand transit, walking, and biking access. The workshops also focused on planning community events and presenting community findings and feedback to City of Boston staff.

On Wednesday, August 3, WalkBoston and Consult LeLa members led a walk audit for participants in the Blue Hill Ave Youth Workshop. Staff and participants walked a half mile from Mattapan Square towards the library, noting any key concerns about pedestrian and transit infrastructure. Key points of discussion included: extreme heat, lack of shade, high speed traffic, need for trash receptacles, and desire for bike lanes or biking infrastructure. 

Ish, one of the students involved in the Youth Engagement Committee with Consult LeLa, presented the data collected from this walk audit to City of Boston staff on Friday, August 26, 2022. On a day in Mattapan when the air temperature was 80 degrees, the surface temperature of a bus stop bench was 105 degrees & a sidewalk with no shade was 116 degrees. The surface temperature of a shady sidewalk under a tree was significantly lower: 92 degrees.

They also plan to share their concerns with other youth in the area by creating educational content to be shared on social media. We truly enjoyed working with Consult LeLa and the youth advocates and hope our partnership continues!