Small child walking in Harbor Park

Elderly woman walking with a cane on a dirt path on the corner of Main Street and Grant Street were sidewalks are needed

Downtown shopper walking on snow covered sidewalks

Student walking near the schools on Forest Avenue where sidewalks are needed

Walkability is something that affects everyone whether that’s an older person walking with a cane or a family coming back from grocery shopping. It’s also something that affects us all year round -- some areas may not be accessible during the wintertime due to lack of properly maintained or existing sidewalks.

Walkability can impact many significant decisions such as what neighborhoods we choose to live in, where we can work, and where we can buy our groceries. Of course walkability is not always just about transportation, it can also be about taking an enjoyable relaxing walk down the street to the neighborhood shop or to visit friends at the park. To consider a neighborhood walkable it must have proper infrastructure, and the infrastructure must be of high enough quality that it encourages people who would otherwise drive to walk. Although our city has made great improvements to walkability in some neighborhoods -- for example the addition of the pedestrian/bicycle trail from downtown neighborhoods to Ellsworth Falls and the continuation of municipal sidewalks to Ellsworth Falls -- other neighborhoods such as in the areas of High Street, Water Street, and Bridge Hill are lacking sidewalks and crosswalks in critical locations, creating safety concerns as well as inaccessibility issues.

These concerns were documented in a community survey created and distributed in 2017, which resulted in nearly 200 responses, surpassing the typical response rate for all other municipal visioning assessments.

Group of people walking back from the grocery store on High Street

Woman walking through grass up to her knees around a recently built Myrick Street shopping center