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Walkable Communities

Walkable Communities

WalkBoston builds awareness and support for safe, enjoyable walkable communities across Massachusetts. As experts in what makes places work for walking, we help residents, municipal staff and local organizations understand the issues that affect walking. We then work with them to identify ways to implement improvements to walking conditions in their communities.

Presentations and trainings

WalkBoston provides a wide variety of presentations and trainings to different audiences that are designed to inform and engage people about walking, and the sidewalk and road design elements that affect the safety and quality of the walking environment. Our most frequently offered programs are:

Ped 101
Pedestrian advocacy training that gives participants a basic overview of the elements of a safe walking environment and helps prepare people to speak up for walking in their own community. WalkBoston staff are available to present at community meetings, corporate brown bag lunch sessions, conferences, or other events. Please contact us to schedule a presentation.

Training programs  
We conduct multi-session training programs that combine classroom activities and fieldwork to give participants the tools to make their neighborhoods and main streets more walkable. Program activities may include performing walk audits, conducting surveys, using handheld speed detectors, analyzing data, and preparing presentations to be given to local officials.  WalkBoston has funding to conduct these programs thanks to the Miller Foundation and the Cummings Foundation.

Safety training for children
In partnership with the MA Safe Routes to School (MA SRTS) program, WalkBoston has conducted pedestrian safety training for 2nd graders in elementary schools across the state. If you are interested in bringing pedestrian safety training to schools in your community, please contact the MA SRTS program.

Walk audits

WalkBoston’s walk audits bring together diverse groups of people to observe and discuss sidewalk and road designs that affect walking conditions. Participants walk together along a specified route, take note of the positive and negative aspects of their surroundings, and then meet to discuss their observations. Brief summaries are compiled with specific short- and long-term recommendations and policy suggestions.  WalkBoston conducts walk audits around schools and senior centers, in downtown districts, in suburban or rural town centers, or in any setting where walking improvements are needed.

Walking maps

One of the many benefits of walking is seeing and experiencing things that you would miss using other modes of travel. WalkBoston’s maps feature places that are wonderful to walk, easy to navigate, and convenient to get around. Created together with people who know the area best – local residents, municipal staff, or community organizations– each self-guided map has detailed routes and descriptions of sights and scenes.

Comment letters

WalkBoston reviews selected development and transportation projects that are located in areas of particular importance to people walking, or that could have impacts on many existing (or future) pedestrians. Comment letters are submitted to the appropriate state or local public agencies.

Training programs

WalkBoston conducts multi-session training programs that combine classroom activities and fieldwork to give participants tools to make their neighborhoods and main streets more walkable.

Program activities include performing walk audits, conducting surveys, using handheld speed detectors, analyzing data, and preparing presentations to be given to local officials.

Technical assistance

WalkBoston is able to provide ongoing technical assistance to a number of Massachusetts municipalities through both public sector and foundation support. If you are interested in learning whether your city or town is eligible for technical assistance from WalkBoston, please get in touch with us. The elements of a technical assistance program could include any of the different tools described above, and usually involves more than one.