Independence to conduct walkability audits - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Independence to conduct walkability audits



 (Independence, IA)  - Do you ever walk to the local coffee or ice cream shop on a whim?  Could you? In the not so distant past it was easier for people walk around their community. Then the urban sprawl occurred, communities expanded, the transportation system centered on the automobile, and sidewalks became a thing of the past. Over the past few years there has been a resurgence of interest in the walkability of a community. 

"A community that encourages and facilitates walking supports community health, vitality and safety," stated Janet Buls, Livable Communities and Advocacy Coordinator for Hawkeye Valley Area Agency on Aging.  "While there are people in Independence that do walk, I believe that more would if the community had an adequate pedestrian system in place that would make walking safer and more enjoyable."

Sidewalks are the fundamental building blocks of a pedestrian network.  According to a Livable Communities Guide from AARP the most common problems most communities face when it comes to the sidewalk system include discontinuous and disjointed routes, traffic conflicts, difficulty in crossing streets, safety and security, poor design, obstruction and lack of maintenance.

To determine how easy it is to walk around the city of Independence, the public is invited to help perform Walkability Audits.  Times and locations are listed below:

  • Independence Library - Wednesday, July 29 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
  • Wapsipinicon Mill - Saturday, August 1 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Buchanan County Senior Center - Tuesday, August 4 from 9:30 to 11 a.m.
  • West Elementary School - Wednesday, August 5 from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m.

                Each event will begin with a brief introduction and information about how to conduct a Walkability Audit.  Teams will be provided maps and information gathering tools. The audits will take approximately 90 minutes. The Walkability Audits will be held regardless of weather, so come prepared to participate in rainy or windy weather. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes. 

                The Walkability Audits are hosted by Hawkeye Valley Area Agency on Aging, Independence Area Chamber of Commerce, Independence School District and Iowa Regional Council of Governments (INRCOG). For more information on Livable Communities or the Walkability Audits, contact Janet Buls by calling 319-272-2244.

                HVAAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation serving older persons in Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Chickasaw, Grundy, Hardin, Marshall, Poweshiek and Tama counties. HVAAA coordinates services for people ages 60 and older and their caregivers to maintain the independence they desire. Some of the services provided by HVAAA include home delivered meals, caregiver support and respite services, case management services, consumer protection, congregate meals, public information and education, Senior Helpline, and advocacy.

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