Walkable Community/Safe Routes to School Workshop
A community workshop which engages key officials, professionals, and residents in a group problem-solving enterprise. These are ideal tools with which to develop substantive community input and buy-in during the planning process, and during development of area non-motorized transportation, bicycle, pedestrian, or trail and greenway plans. A typical half-day format follows, although these workshops can be as short as two hours (quite tight), to as long as two days (if the goal is to develop very specific approaches and plans). Three things are very helpful for a successful session: assuring that the right folks are in attendance (see list below); selecting an area for the walk which is representative of the issues and opportunities the community is facing; and providing good large maps for everyone to work and draw on after the walk itself. These are often targeted to specifically address the issues around a school setting, including creation of safe environments for all students, whether walking and cycling or arriving by bus or car.
A typical half-day agenda could be as follows:
- 20 mins. Introductions, lay-out the plan for the session.
- 70 mins. Presentation (PowerPoint) describing the tools available to create more walkable, bicycle-friendly settings.
- 10 min. Break
- 60 min. Walking audit. Ideally entire group walks an area of concern, or area considered for potential improvement.
- 40 min. Small group problem solving (small groups sit at tables, literally drawing on maps of the area we walked); presentations to full group.
- 40 min. Discussion, next steps, and wrap-up.
A participant list for a successful walkable community/safe routes to school workshop includes (but isn't limited to) the following:
- Concerned citizens, local advocates
- Transportation/Traffic engineers (public & private sector)
- Planners, architects, landscape architects (public & private sector)
- Department of public works
- Police (especially safety officer) & Fire Dept. (concerned about street safety)
- Elected and appointed officials (city council, mayor, planning commission, etc.)
- Parks and recreation, community service, council on aging
- School representatives (officials and parents)
- Chamber of commerce/local businesses
- Public health dept. (including physical activity, injury prevention, WIC, etc.)