HCN News & Notes

Community Event Aims to Envision a Safer Springfield Streetscape

SPRINGFIELD — Rescheduled from a rainy May 19 initial date, a coalition of nonprofit and public organizations will host an event on Saturday, June 30 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lincoln Elementary School at 732 Chestnut St., Springfield, to engage local residents regarding the ways in which public roadways can be designed so everyone can drive, ride, walk, and run safely.

Representatives from Walk Bike Springfield, MLK Family Services, RadSpringfield, the Springfield Police Department, PVTA, MassRIDES/Safe Routes to School, the ValleyBike Share program, Mercy Medical Center, Age Friendly Springfield, the Public Health Institute of Western Mass, Way Finders, Walk Boston, the Springfield Department of Public Health, the Springfield Department of Public Works, MassDevelopment, and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission will host a series of activities meant to inspire residents in regard to what safe streets for all could look like, and provide information on how to advocate for these transformative changes in their own community.

“Until I started walking with my kids to school, I didn’t realize how wonderful it would be — both the time with them and simply being outside, enjoying nature and getting exercise,” said Catherine Ratte, principal planner, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. “The same goes for bicycling; I didn’t realize how fantastic it would feel to glide through the city in the morning and then have that half an hour on the way home to unwind. Complete Streets demonstration day will give all Springfield residents the opportunity to feel what it is like to ride a bicycle on a protected bike lane and to walk safely through a neighborhood. Please come out and have some fun.”

The event is funded through Trinity Health’s Transforming Communities Initiative — a partnership between Mercy Medical Center and Live Well Springfield to address health disparities through targeted policy, systems, and environment change in Springfield — as well as the state and local Public Health Actions 1422 program, which is funded through the Centers for Disease Control and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health with the goal of promoting and reinforcing healthful behaviors, best practices, and a decrease health disparities to prevent and reduce chronic disease.

The event will include a Complete Streets exhibition, an advocacy/activity fair, a bike rodeo, neighborhood walk audits, a pedestrian safety course, food and entertainment. Residents with questions and comments can contact Ashley Eaton at aeaton@pvpc.org or (413) 781-6045.