LYNN — Around 15 representatives from various agencies took to the sidewalks this Friday for a “walk audit.”
The event was hosted by Bike to the Sea and the AARP.
“Today we are making observations of street conditions and sidewalk conditions to understand how accessible the Northern Strand Trail Extension is to the Lynn Ferry terminal,” Agnes Recato, program manager at Bike to the Sea, said.
The walk was the second of three to assess challenges for walkers attempting to access the Northern Strand Trail Extension and is part of work being done by Bike to the Sea, which was awarded a $2,500 2023 AARP Community Challenge Micro-Grant to improve pedestrian safety.
“The community challenge quick action grant is an opportunity that our national office offers annually to really support initiatives that lead to long-term change,” Antron Watson, Age Friendly Director at AARP Massachusetts, said. “These grants look at a variety of issue areas and really strive to find ways to improve the community for people of all ages.”
Watson said grants can be used for a variety of things like pedestrian safety, housing, parks and public spaces, and transportation, among other uses.
The group, with clipboards in hand, did an examination of both the challenges and advantages of sidewalk travel on areas of Pleasant Street, Tremont Street and Neptune Boulevard and Blossom Street before ending the walk at the Lynnway.
The auditors looked at hazards on the sidewalks and at intersections that may present hurdles to accessibility for walkers, wheelchair users and others who utilize the sidewalks daily.
Representatives from several city and state agencies were present, including Mayor Jared Nicholson and representatives from the Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development, Lynn Department of Public Works, the Police Department and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
“It’s always good to take part in issues that concern the city and the citizens with pedestrian traffic and motor vehicle traffic,” Lt. David Hunter, who is in charge of the police department traffic unit, said. “We all need to work together to make sure the streets are safe for people to get around the city in a safe and timely manner.”
Nicholson said making the city a more walkable community was a priority for his administration.
“We certainly have a goal of improving the walkability of the city. It’s really important for access,” Nicholson said. “It’s also really important for the health of the community…It’s great for local businesses to have foot traffic and to allow neighbors to interact.”
Nicholson noted improved walkability was directly related to the bigger picture of the city’s transportation infrastructure, especially with the Northern Strand extension project, the emergence of ferry service to Boston and the return of Commuter Rail service to the city.
“(This is) a perfect example of the type of project that we are talking about,” Nicholson said. “One of our major goals is growth that benefits the whole community.”