Walkability 101.4

by Michelle McDonald | Jul 10th, 2016 | Leave a comment

Congratulations, you’ve made it to the final lesson on Walkability 101!

We’ve been discovering paths toward walkability while reading Jeff Speck’s Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step at a Time. Let’s recap. Walkability (anywhere) requires comfortable and safe pedestrians. Comfort and safety motivate one to walk, especially if the walk is useful (like walking to the post office). What places are you excited to walk? Take a second, remember. Are those places interesting?


ARTventures public art display sparks conversation on the street.
ARTventures public art display in Nashua sparks conversation on the street.

The Interesting Walk| Summertime in New England is a perfect time to walk. You walk to join your friends picnicking at the park. You enjoy your café au lait at the coffee shop while watching others stroll past. You and your neighbor seek shade under a street tree on the sidewalk while chatting. An interactive streetscape inspires and engages. Here, people share experiences. Here, niches of community culture blossom.


For stories and inspiration about walkable communities (and the steps they are taking) look for sites like these: Walkability Case Studies, Walkable.org and Feetfirst.org.


This bench in Franklin is a seat & a place to drink some coffee with a friend.
This bench in Franklin is a seat & a place to drink some coffee with a friend.

Throughout his book, Speck explains reasons why components of walkability- like light rail or “green” buildings- fail at creating walkability when considered independently. These ideas support walkability, however, they must be considered in context. For example, bike racks at an airport only accessible by highway probably won’t encourage anyone to bike to his next flight. Likewise, not everything will work for every place nor is every place destined to be just like NYC ( ie. most walkable City 2015).

Build walkability by starting with what is attainable, logistically and culturally. Just as Speck says, “pick your winners.” Incorporating one basic component, like safety, will lead to more opportunities for everyone and more interesting walks.

If you and others in your community want walkability to happen, participate in discussions, volunteer and be involved. Seek advice from other NH towns and cities, like New Boston or Keene, that have adopted walkability principles. Refer to resources like Southern NH Planning Commission’s Walkability Toolkit for hints, too! Outdated zoning regulations can be changed to meet the changing character of any community.

You can spark the change.

Get out there, New Hampshire. Summer brings community fun and the perfect opportunity to notice if where you walk is truly walkable or not. While you’re out there, pick up a copy of Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time. We recommend it. The mystery of walkability can be solved by returning the focus to the machines we know best—humans.

What is your community’s walkscore? Find out HERE.



Is YOUR community ready for active transportation?

by Robin LeBlanc | May 20th, 2014 | Leave a comment

Healthy Eating Active Living NH (HEAL NH) continues its series on Active Transportation with a workshop addressing readiness.  It will focus on teaching attendees

  • how to assess whether your community is ready for active transportation projects
  • at what level are community members ready/not ready
  • how to bring partners into your network.

The workshop will also look at real world examples of how  readiness assessments can be or could have been implemented in communities.

The session is June 3, 9am-noon, at the NH Department of Transportation located at 7 Hazen Drive – Room 114, Concord (J.O. Morton Building): https://goo.gl/maps/Wgr2b.

The session is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required to hold reserve your seat. Lunch will be provided at 11:30am and there will be optional networking until 1pm.

Please RSVP (and direct any questions) to Nik Coates at [email protected], or 415-4263.



  • Scot Foster: Physical Activity Coordinator, NH Department of Health and Human Services
  • Nicholas Coates (Nik): Active Living Coordinator, Foundation for Healthy Communities



  • 9:00am-9:50am: Using the community readiness assessment tool to determine your community’s readiness for active transportation
  • 10:00am-10:30am: Mock interviews
  • 10:30am-11:30am: Examples of how community readiness assessments worked or could have worked in NH communities
  • 11:30am: Lunch arrives
  • 11:30am-12:00pm: Q&A, Wrap Up
  • 12:00pm-1:00pm: Networking (optional)


Desired Outcomes:

  • Know how to use the community readiness assessment tool and have practiced using it.
  • Know how to identify who to interview in a community.
  • Know how to develop and implement a plan for a readiness assessment in a community.

Materials from the previous sessions here: http://www.healnh.org/index.php/active-transportation/active-transportation-training-series

If you are unable to make this session, but would like to participate in future active transportation learning opportunities, please note these additional opportunities through HEAL NH.

  • June 5: NH Planners Association Annual Conference at UNH Durham Complete Streets How Tow: Plenary and Breakout session – Registration at www.nhplanners.org
  • June 17, 10 a.m.-noon: Active Transportation Technical Assistance conference call with Nik Coates and Tim Blagden (Bike-Walk Alliance of NH) – 866-906-9888 / Participant Code 3974286
  • Additional sessions are currently being organized for the Summer and Fall and more details will follow in the coming weeks.