Tag: pop-up

Austin St Pop-up and Safe Access to Parks

Austin St Pop-up and Safe Access to Parks

On Wednesday, July 17, 2019, WalkBoston joined many departments from the City of Boston for a Sidewalk Series/Austin St Pop-up in Thompson Square in Charlestown. 

Safe access to parks is an important part of creating a safe and walkable neighborhood. We encouraged attendees to add a green sticker to a map for places that felt safe for pedestrians, and a red sticker for areas that needed improvement. Many people then explained why it didn’t feel safe, and how they would fix things to make it better. We also heard great ideas about this section of Austin Street being something other than an extra slip lane for vehicles, all because it was opened up for a few hours to help people see the possibilities. We’ll be sharing all of the feedback we received with the city.

Thank you to the Age Strong Commission, New Urban Mechanics, Office of Neighborhood Services & Public Works for asking us to participate & making the day a success – and thanks to everyone that stopped by at the pop-up and shared your feedback (or just played with the bubble machine for a while)!

Town of Lenox on the move

Town of Lenox on the move

By Gwen Miller/Land Use Director & Town Planner, Lenox 

Lenox, in the Berkshires, has just over 5,000 residents. It is largely rural with a small downtown, parks, public art, great restaurants, Tanglewood, The Mount/Edith Wharton’s Home. In Lenox, you get the small-town vibe but big-city culture.

Residents want to stay in Lenox as they age. Millennials across the country are opting to live in traditionally dense, accessible neighborhoods. So in the past year, Lenox has embraced walkability and adopted a Complete Streets policy. The process started by conducting two walk audits with WalkBoston and working with local partners to install “pop-up” Complete Street interventions. Working with Age Friendly Berkshires, the town installed two temporary curb extensions on Main Street and ordered “WalkYourCity” signs directing residents and visitors to destinations such as Tanglewood, Shakespeare and Co., restaurants, and playgrounds.

Getting decision makers and stakeholders into the neighborhood has been a big “win.” Seeing is believing. The “pop-up” curb extensions were a low-cost and very effective tool to demonstrate how to slow down car traffic and give walkers better visibility and more ability to be seen.

During one Walk Audit, a Board of Selectmen member joined us. Noting an inaccessible curb ramp, the group stopped to took stock. The Selectmen asked the Department of Public Works Superintendent and Town Planner to fix the ramp before the current repaving project ended. It got fixed that week.

Partnerships, walk audits, temporary, low-cost installations all make what often seem like lofty or challenging goals and solutions, seem doable. You leverage resources and expertise, and get feedback immediately.

We plan to submit our curb extension project as part of our Complete Streets Tier III funding request. This project makes the street safer for all users and we know we have support after testing and educating people about the benefits.

This effort has been positive due to the many partnerships including WalkBoston, Mass in Motion, Be Well Berkshires, MassDOT Complete Streets Program, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, Age Friendly Berkshires, the Department of Public Works, and members of the Board of Selectmen.

This article was featured in WalkBoston’s October 2017 newsletter.
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