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Walkability experts aim to create age-friendly safer neighborhoods

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AARP Livable Communities

AARP Oregon, Safe Routes to School, and Better Eugene-Springfield Transportation (BEST) are holding a virtual Safe Streets Webinar at 10 a.m., Feb. 23, 2021.

Every year, thousands of people get seriously injured on our streets. A safe street is one where people can travel to and from work, school or play securely. "Dangerous by Design" an annual report shows that while data for 2019 won’t be available until later this year, 2018 was the most dangerous year on record for people walking and biking since 1990—continuing a decade-long increase.

Drivers in the U.S. struck and killed 6,283 people walking and 857 people while riding bicycles in 2018; tens of thousands of people walking, biking, and rolling were also seriously injured by cars crashes. These data show just how important local, state, and especially federal action is to redesign roads to prioritize the safety of the most vulnerable people using them.

The purpose of the Safe Streets for All workshop is to provide participants with educational tools to make our neighborhoods, cities and states safer for people of all ages, abilities, races, or ethnicities to walk and bike.

"Unfortunately, while some students have multiple options for safe routes to walk, bike or roll to school, students in some parts of town face dangerous street crossings and roads that don't provide a safe space for people walking and biking, " said Sarah Mazze, Safe Routes to School program coordinator.  "Safe Routes to School is thrilled to partner with AARP and BEST to bring together people from across the state to gain inspiration around what our streets could look like and then pool our collective knowledge and ideas towards transformative action."

As part of the workshop, participants will learn how to work with their community to increase mobility for all. They will also learn how to survey the safety of your neighborhoods streets by asking:

• Can people safely and easily get where they are going without a car, regardless of age, ability, income, or ethnicity?

• Are there locations in your community where people want to walk or bike, but can’t due to safety concerns?

• Do community policies work towards creating equity and eliminating disparities?

Participants will have the opportunity to follow-up by holding "street audits" in their own neighborhoods. A second workshop will be held March 9 at 10 a.m. for attendees from Oregon.

"We hope to see more follow-up workshops planned by community," said Carmel Perez Snyder, AARP associate state director. "Only by working together can we improve the safety of our streets."


Olatunji Oboi Reed, chairman and CEO of Equiticity Ventures, a racial equity movement, will be speaking on" Just Streets: Where Racial Equity, Transportation, and Enforcement Collide." 
Oboi promotes programming and advocating for racial justice to improve the lives of Black and Brown people across the United States.

Oboi co-founded and recently served as president and CEO of the Slow Roll Chicago Bicycle movement. His passion lies at the intersection of community, culture and health.

LeeAnne Fergason the Safe Routes to School program manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation since 2017. She leads a grant program to fund Safe Routes to School construction projects to address barriers to students walking and biking to school. She values work with local jurisdictions, the school community, and community partners to help implement the best solutions to these barriers.

Robert Alan Ping is a youth, bicycling, smart growth, and social equity advocate. One of the founding leaders of the national Safe Routes to School movement, Robert was appointed by Congress to the federal Safe Routes to School Task Force in 2007 and as founding manager of Portland’s comprehensive Safe Routes to School program. He is the author and editor of dozens of technical publications, including an award-winning fact sheet series for AARP.

 Important links:

Walk Audit Sheets

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