FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Vancouver, Washington -- A series of half-day workshops aimed at making local communities more pedestrian friendly will convene in Clark County on May 12-14, 2004. The workshops are sponsored by the National Center for Bicycling and Walking (NCBW), in partnership with the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council (RTC), Clark County, the city of Vancouver, the city of Ridgefield, C-TRAN and the Washington State Department of Transportation. The Walkable Community Workshops (WCW) are made possible, in part, by a grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. According to Peter Moe, national coordinator for the program, the workshops bring together elected officials, public agency staff, public health practitioners, planners, engineers and advocates to focus attention on pedestrian issues in their community.
“The Walkable Community Workshops concentrate on real-world problems and hands-on solutions for each community,” said Moe. “During each four-hour workshop the participants identify opportunities to reduce barriers to walking, to enhance opportunities for walking in the community and to build consensus for what needs to be done to improve conditions for people to walk.”
Targeted workshops in Clark County will be located in Ridgefield (May 12th, evening), Hazel Dell/Highway 99 Revitalization area (May 13th, morning), the Fisher’s Landing Transit Center (May 13th, afternoon) and the Jim Parsley Center (May 14th, morning).
As part of the workshop, NCBW trainers will lead participants on a walking audit of the target area. “The goal is to teach workshop participants to really ‘see’ the community from the perspective of a pedestrian,” RTC organizer Lynda David said. “We will see what we call ‘ah-ha! moments’ when people realize the challenges that face pedestrians. Missing bits of sidewalk, utility poles or curb ramps that seemed insignificant become big issues when you’re out there on foot or in a wheelchair. We need to think of the abilities and limitations of different kinds of pedestrians, such as children, seniors, the disabled or parents with children in strollers. You also can get the sense of how threatening some traffic behavior can be.”
“Walkable Community Workshops are a central piece of the direct assistance program of the NCBW,” said NCBW executive director Bill Wilkinson. “Between March and mid-June, our training teams will present 80 workshops across the country. More than 1,500 workshop participants will learn the basics of how to create a walkable community and identify actions they can take to make it happen.” The Clark County region is sharing the NCBW trainers with the Lane County/Eugene region in Oregon to present four workshops in each region.
The workshops highlight ways in which land use and transportation decisions affect walking, health, physical activity, and livability. The trainers are an elite squad of professionals from diverse backgrounds and fields of work, including planning, transportation engineering, public health, pedestrian policy, and program development. Charlie Gandy and Bruce Appleyard are the NCBW trainers for the local workshops.
For more local workshop information see RTC’s website at: http://www.rtc.wa.gov/events/wcw
For more information about the NCBW see website at: http://www.bikewalk.org
For more information:
Lynda David, Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council
Elise Scolnick, Clark County
Jennifer Campos, City of Vancouver