Healthy Places by Design
Pawtucket hosts HPbD Community Summit
December 1-8, 2011
The Pawtucket Healthy Places by Design Community Summit attracted residents, business owners, local government leaders, and others interested in helping Pawtucket to become a healthier community. The summit consisted of three public events, a leadership breakfast hosted by the Mayor for key government officials, and multiple stakeholder interviews. Please click on the Community Summit tab to the left of your screen for all products related to the Community Summit.
Encouraging Opportunities to Walk, Bike and Use Transit in Pawtucket
During an interactive discussion, about 25 residents learned what makes a Complete Street, the benefits of a Complete Street, and how to achieve Complete Streets in Pawtucket. John Flaherty from Grow Smart Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Coalition for Transportation Choices talked about how we can improve our streets to make them safer to walk, bike, and access transit. Sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, and bus shelters make users feel safe and have an enjoyable experience. A more positive experience will encourage more people to walk, bike, and use transit, thereby increasing physical health and saving money on the expenses of operating a car. These improvements can also enhance a neighborhood and revitalize it, instilling community pride and civic engagement. Participants discussed good examples of streets and intersections in Pawtucket that represent a Complete Street and which could benefit from improvements. Check the Documents page for a summary of this workshop.
Healthy Food in Pawtucket
What kinds of foods do you eat? What influences what you eat? What challenges are there in Pawtucket to access healthy food? Kathleen Gorman from the URI Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America, Katherine Brown from the Southside Community Land Trust, and Nathan Kelly from the Horsley Witten Group lead the group by asking these and other questions at the Access to Healthy Foods Workshop on November 10th. That night, 25 residents offered their experiences. While most agreed that the elderly and lower income residents had the greatest obstacles to eating healthier foods, everyone faced the same frustration that a majority of small markets and convenience stores only sell junk food or sugary snacks. Hurdles to access were limited locations that sell fresh produce, transportation to reach these places, and the higher cost of these foods. Residents were inspired by community gardens like Daggett Farm in Slater Park and those created by New Urban Farmers. Check the Documents page for a summary of this workshop.
Pawtucket talks Parks
Almost 30 Pawtucket residents, business owners, parks and recreation staff, public safety personnel, and civic leaders attended the Parks and Recreation Workshop on November 2nd. Peter Flinker of Dodson Associates, Ltd., local expert on planning for recreation and active living, provided a brief overview and then residents engaged in a dynamic discussion regarding the current strengths and challenges for parks and recreation in Pawtucket. Opportunities, such as the development of a “Friends of Pawtucket Parks” group were identified for further exploration.
How walkable and bikeable is Pawtucket?
The City is trying to answer this question as part of the Healthy Places by Design project. To support this effort, the City underwent a professional walkability audit and bikeability audit. Mike Lydon of the Street Plans Collaborative conducted the bikeability audit. To see the video from this assessment, scroll to the bottom of this page. You can also read Mike’s “Handlebar Survey” on the Documents page. Mark Fenton, renowned expert on walkability, conducted the walkability audit. Both assessments will provide a clearer picture of Pawtucket’s current walkability and bikeability as well as present some recommendations for improvement.
CHLI Assessments are complete!
With your help, Pawtucket has a clearer picture of how healthy of a community it really is. Residents donated their time to meet with YMCA Community Healthy Living Index (CHLI) expert, Melissa Walsh of the Greater Providence YMCA, to talk about the City and how it currently supports healthy living. CHLI assessments were held for the City as a whole as well as targeted assessments in the Woodlawn neighborhood and for youth. The YMCA will be providing a report summarizing the results of the CHLI assessments. Check the Documents page for this report.
Public Project Kickoff Meeting Held October 5th
Over 50 Pawtucket residents attended the Pawtucket Healthy Places by Design project kickoff meeting on the evening of October 5th. Mayor Donald Grebien, Planning Director Michael Davolio, and Senior Planner Susan Mara introduced the project to the community and welcomed Pawtucket residents to help the City become a healthy place to live and work. Ms. Mara expressed that the project was about creating a healthier Pawtucket through changes to the City’s policy and planning documents, mainly through Comprehensive Plan and Zoning amendments. These changes would help the City to provide more opportunities for recreation, more access to healthy food, and improvements to make the City more walkable and bikeable. She introduced the project team which includes the Pawtucket Citizens Development Corporation, and told participants that public participation was a fundamental component to the project.
After the presentation, project team member Nathan Kelly of the Horsley Witten Group, invited participants to the second half of the meeting which involved a hands-on exercise where the public voted on different healthy living objectives by placing dot stickers next to items they felt strongly about, i.e., “The community needs more urban farms and/or community gardens.” Click here for activity results. There were also informational posters to educate participants on how policy and planning can create healthy communities. Click on the informational poster images below to view the full size posters.
These issues are meant to frame discussions moving forward but the Project Team welcomes other ideas. For example, attendees noted that the critical issues of access to our sidewalks and parks for people with disabilities will need to be discussed during this project. Access to tobacco products and management of snow removal were other issues raised at the kick-off meeting that will be explored in future work sessions.
Pawtucket Bike Assessment Video
View the video from the Pawtucket bikeability assessment with Mike Lydon of Street Plans Collaborative. The assessment was conducted to assess Pawtucket's bike infrastructure and culture in advance of the Healthy Places by Design Workshop. The Public is invited to the workshop to be held from 4-6 PM on Monday, October 17, 2011 at the Blackstone Valley Visitor Center, 175 Main Street, Pawtucket.