Advocacy Goal: Win a “Walk-Friendly Community” Award

“Achievement unlocked” by three Walking College Fellows

Walk-friendly area

By Ian Thomas

Our partners at the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center recently announced that 23 new cities have been recognized as Walk Friendly Communities.

The Walk Friendly Communities (WFC) program evaluates pedestrian safety, mobility, access, and comfort in towns and cities across the U.S.  Coalitions consisting of local government agencies, community advocacy groups, and other stakeholders complete an extensive questionnaire covering walking programs, design of existing streets and public spaces, and plans for future improvements. Based on their responses, the community may be awarded Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum WFC Status or an Honorable Mention.  At the present time there are 82 Walk-Friendly Communities.

Among the 23 newly recognized towns and cities are three whose awards benefited from the work of Fellows in America Walks’ Walking College program:

  • Charles Bingham (2018 Walking College Fellow and Organizer with Walk Sitka) led the effort to achieve WFC status for his community of Sitka, Alaska.
  • Nicole Smith (2019 Fellow and Community Health Specialist with the City of York, Pennsylvania) started the application process for her city before taking a new job as Operations and Program Manager with America Walks, and her former colleagues put it across the finish line.
  • Dane Eifling (also a 2019 Fellow and Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator with the City of Fayetteville, Arkansas) used his professional position to lead Fayetteville’s successful application.

Seeking WFC status is an excellent goal for Walking College Fellows to include in their Action Plan because it creates awareness of where their community is already strong and where more work needs to be done.  We congratulate Charles, Nicole, and Dane, and thank the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center for coordinating the Walk Friendly Communities program.

The Walking College program is an annual program through America Walks that runs for about six months, starting in the spring. Learn more about this program by visiting our website.