HELENA – A conference this week in Helena is helping get more people involved in the process of creating walkable communities.
National walkability expert Mark Fenton is leading the event — teaching participants how to conduct ‘inclusive walk audits.’
Representatives from city and state agencies, as well as various stakeholder groups are in attendance.
After learning how to conduct an audit, they broke into groups to conduct one themselves in several mixed-use Helena neighborhoods.
Fenton says the process is about making communities walkable for everyone, which in turn leads to greater impacts.
“Building environments where it’s convenient and inviting and safe to get out and move under your own power does work. We find cities that devote themselves to building inclusive outdoor environments that really invite everybody to be out there tend to have more physically active outdoor populations and therefore healthier people,” says Fenton. “We also see that the quality of life is higher and the local economic energy is better.”
The groups taking part in today’s inclusive walk audits looked at how friendly the area is for walking, biking and transit — with an emphasis on considering how inclusive the area is for those with special needs.
Reporting by Melissa Jensen for MTN News