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Walkability survey to help make areas surrounding light rail stations more pedestrian-friendly

St. Paul’s District Councils Collaborative (DCC) is kicking off a “walkability survey” for the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit stations on May 6.

It involves group walks from various neighborhood spots to coming light rail stations in St. Paul and Minneapolis. The walks will take about 20 minutes or so; combined with the survey, it's less than an hour-long commitment, according to DCC staffer Anne White.

The walks will also have a cultural component; urban activist Charles Landry, who is an advocate for walking, will be taking part in the event on Sunday, she says.

Landry will also have a number of speaking engagements around town on the theme of "Creating 21st Century Intercultural and Creative Cities," as a part of a week-long residency with the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative through May 11. (For a full schedule of events, go here.)

Walkability surveys can be turned in any time until May 28 at the DCC website, which also has a map for making notations. The DCC is hoping to collect 1,500 surveys, or 100 for each of the 15 stops.

The survey will look at “both the physical environment and at how people feel, which isn’t strictly physical. Do they feel safe and comfortable walking?”

For that reason, the feedback will be valuable on many different levels. “It highlights the importance of a good walking environment,” she says, adding, “We’re also getting people looking forward,” in terms of getting used to the idea of taking the train.

Additionally, the walks will help identify areas in need of repair or in bad condition, as well as zones that aren't pedestrian-friendly, she says. “We’ll be helping identify priorities. Where are the greatest needs? Where should they put limited funding to work?”

Part of the survey will also include ensuring accessibility along the way for people with disabilities.  

Hopefully, related streetscape improvements can be made before the light rail is up and running because “It has potential to boost light rail ridership,” White says.

Source: Anne White, District Councils Collaborative
Writer: Anna Pratt
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