From the community

Walkability Workshop for Belfast

Posted Feb. 14, 2014, at 9:05 a.m.

On Monday, March 10, at 8:30 am in Belfast, community members are invited to join Dan Burden from the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute and Jane Lafleur from Friends of Midcoast Maine in a workshop and “audit” to look at ways to make Belfast more walkable. Burden is a renowned expert on walkability and has helped 3,500 communities nationwide become more walkable and livable. Walking audits are a powerful workshop tool for redesign and visioning and for helping to build healthier, active communities. Popularized more than 10 years ago by Burden through his Walkable Communities, Inc., these teaching events have proven to be fun, healthy, democratic and inspirational.

Burden has spent more than 35 years helping the world get “back on its feet” and his efforts have not only earned him the first-ever lifetime achievement awards issued by the New Partners for Smart Growth and the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, but in 2001, Dan was named by TIME magazine as “one of the six most important civic innovators in the world.” Also that year, the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences honored Burden by making him their Distinguished Lecturer.

As many know, a walkable community creates economic vitality. The group will explore ideas to improve retail life, walkability, safety, traffic flow, community health, social interaction and the beauty and attractiveness of the area. The workshop includes outside walking so participants should wear comfortable walking shoes and dress appropriately for the weather.

In Belfast, the workshop will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 37 Miller St., right around the corner from the Belfast Free Library. After registration and a brief introductory talk and slide show by Burden, participants will board a bus and be dropped off at Renys Plaza to begin the walk along Main Street back toward town, with Burden offering commentary and analysis along the way. In town, walkers will conclude the 1.2-mile route by taking a left onto Church Street, and then a left on Market Street leading them back to Main Street, where they will proceed down Beaver Street to High Street, taking a right on Miller Street to return to the church, where there will be lunch and small group work. Following the small group reports, Burden will offer a final summary report. Activities will conclude at 2:30 p.m.

Registration is free for Belfast residents, businesses and property owners and $10 for all others. Space is limited so pre-registration is required. To pre-register, send an e-mail to info@friendsmidcoast.org or register on-line at www.friendsmidcoast.org. For additional information, contact Glenn Montgomery at gmont85@gmail.com

The workshop is co-sponsored by Friends of Midcoast Maine (FMM), the City of Belfast, and the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute and is supported and funded by the Midcoast Public Health District’s Community Transformation Grant. Belfast, along with Wiscasset, was chosen through a competitive process that was open to communities in Knox, Waldo, Lincoln and Sagadahoc Counties as well as Brunswick and Harpswell, which all currently have an Active Community Environment Team (ACE Team) or had plans to designate a team in conjunction with their application. ACE Teams encourage environmental and policy change that will increase levels of physical activity and improve public health by promoting walking, bicycling and the development of accessible recreational facilities. The teams are comprised of diverse and invested members of the community and include at least 1 municipalofficial.

FMM has held similar workshops in Camden, Thomaston, Boothbay Harbor and Rockland.

For more information, visit www.friendsmidcoast.org or call 236-1077.

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