Walkability Wins – Part Twelve (Double Issue!!)

People laughing by community mural art

A new roundup of Walkability Wins. This week we’re showcasing the movement by highlighting more places across the country advancing pedestrian-friendly agendas.

Sausalito, California

2021 California State Walking College Fellow graduate, Sybil Boutilier, sought out their Walking Action Plan to fruition! The City of Sausalito’s 2022 Pavement Improvement Project approved additional sidewalks that included the Senior Center. The residents now have access to all sorts of services safely. The link provided has details of the Walking Action Plan. Well done!

Burlington, Vermont

The Vermonters for People-Oriented Places (VPOP) is a new grassroots organization, but they are surely not new to advocating for “more livable, lively, and resilient cities”. Their recent success entails replacing parking minimums with parking maximums after the city council voted 10-1 in favor of it. Parking mandates and minimums result in having too much parking rather than too little and hurts the city in costs. “We will still have parking in the city,” city councilor Ben Traverse said. “It’s just that we’ll have the parking we need.”

Rochester, New York

The City of Rochester installed 70 new Leading Pedestrian Intervals around the city that will give pedestrians more time to cross before vehicles are given a green light. Rochester received a $5M award of NYS funding for hydrogen fuel cell buses that will allow RTS (Rochester’s bus system) to continue diversifying its fleet and moving away from high-emission vehicles. Learn more at Reconnect Rochester.

Portland, Oregon

The US DOT gave a lump sum of $800,000 to the city of Portland, OR to advance their efforts for restoring a historic Black neighborhood, known as Lower Albina. Lower Albina was destroyed as a result of the construction for Interstate 5 in the 1950s. We want to recognize the Albina Trust Vision, a local nonprofit organization, leading these efforts! You can find ways to support their work via social media: @AlbinaVisionPDX (Twitter), @albinavisiontrust (IG), albinavision.org.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis city council voted unanimously (12-0) for municipal sidewalk plowing that will clear snow and ice. For next steps to successfully roll out the program, a Winter maintenance study will be conducted for review in June to figure out funding needs. What a win for sidewalk users, especially during the harsh Winter months!

Chicago, Illinois

Similarly, Chicago announced an ordinance to pilot a #PlowTheSidewalk program, introduced and led by the disability rights group Access Living and the transportation advocacy organization Better Streets Chicago. Unplowed sidewalks were the biggest complaints, and the unified voices were heard for a clearer future (literally!).

Arlington, Virginia

Lawmakers in Arlington voted to end single-family zoning and allow multi-unit residential buildings throughout the county. After months of debate, the policy passed unanimously 5-0, allowing more townhouses, duplexes, and other small building units. Arlington, a once suburban haven just outside of Washington D.C., designed around single-family homes, becomes the first community in the D.C. region to rethink zoning rules.

Houston, Texas

Hey, remember in 2020 during the first summer of the pandemic, we saw roads close down and return to the people in the name of social distancing? Well, Houston’s City Council voted unanimously to permanently (!!!) “reshape” the downtown area. The plan that has been approved will keep seven blocks of Main Street closed to traffic to allow for outdoor dining and improved walkability – a hit for patrons and businesses.

United States

For the first time since the pandemic started in 2020, Amtrak has reopened routes to Vancouver, B.C. from Portland, Oregon, fully resuming the Cascades service. Senator Murray (D-WA) said “this train line runs along a critical North-South corridor in Washington state, connecting families, communities, and small businesses. Amtrak plays a critical role in getting people where they need to be on time and at a reasonable cost—this is great news as we work to keep Washington state moving forward.”

Similarly, beginning in April, Amtrak service from New York City to Montreal will relaunch after more than two years of being shut down. Officials stated that communities along the corridor heavily depend on this train service for tourism.

To catch up on previous installments of Walkability Wins, visit our blog. Have a win? Send it to us: social@americawalks.org.