The Role of Transportation in Creating Livable Communities for All Ages
The July 2008 issue of Seniors Digest featured an article on the development of Seattle’s Pedestrian Master Plan and invited readers to participate in a walking survey. This second article in our series about the plan focuses on transportation and its relationship to mobility—a key element in creating pedestrian friendly communities for all ages. The final plan will be completed in early 2009 and will be featured in our February issue.
On November 17, the Aging in Place Initiative hosted a workshop in Miami, Florida for elder care advocates, transportation planners, and local government officials to discuss "Transportation and Mobility Options: Creating Livable Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties for All Ages." The workshop gathered key innovators and representatives to identify strategies to enhance transportation opportunities for older adults that will ultimately make the region more livable for all residents.
The workshop focused on the idea that making a community ageless requires the collaboration of numerous players from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. I was invited to speak at the workshop about the work Seattle has done to improve mobility for seniors through the Pedestrian Master Plan and the Complete Streets ordinance that directs the City to build transportation projects that support and encourage walking, bicycling, and transit use while promoting safe operations for all users
Attendees were excited to learn about the ways that seniors are participating in the development of the Pedestrian Master Plan, through the Pedestrian Master Plan Advisory Group, the inter-agency team, and roundtable discussions. There was a robust discussion about the need to improve the pedestrian environment for older adults by providing resting places (such as benches), directional signs, obstruction-free paths, lighting, and signals that give adequate time to cross the street.
Aging in Place is an initiative of Partners for Livable Communities and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), supported by the MetLife Foundation. It was developed to help America’s communities prepare for the aging of their populations and to become places that are good to grow up, live, and grow old in.
Pedestrian Master Plan Updates
The State of the Pedestrian Environment Report (SPER), the first major piece of the plan, is now available on-line. Check out the SPER to learn more about the various pieces of Seattle’s pedestrian environment, from the number of crosswalks and curb ramps, to maps of pedestrian collisions and traffic signal locations. A draft version of the plan will be released in early 2009 and the entire plan will be available on-line in March 2009.
For More Information
Aging in Place Initiative
Seattle Pedestrian Master Plan
Presentation to ADS Advisory Council: "Healthy Aging and the Built Environment" by Jennifer Wieland and Peg Staeheli, September 2008.
National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a)