America Walks Workshops Spawn plans to Increase walking in Austin

May saw S&G in Austin, Texas and Door County Wisconsin for the next two installments of the America Walks Walking Action Network Community workshops. Facilitating all eight workshops for this program has been a great opportunity for S&G, and both of these workshops delivered high-quality results as well.

Thomas Schmid speaking at the Thursday night public eventOn May 2, 69+ people came together for a two-hour presentation on walking. Scott Bricker (America Walks), Thomas Schmid (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), John Eastman (Neighborhood Connectivity Division of the City of Austin Public Works Department), and Christine Freundl (Urban Design Division of the City of Austin Planning and Development Review Department) provided excellent information to the attendees; a question and answer session was also conducted. Click here to see a video recording of that meeting.

Tom Wald presents his tables resultsOn May 3, 35+ attendees gathered together to hear from five additional panelist (including WalkBoston who was able to join via Skype), provide feedback on a strategy to increase walking in Austin, and create draft action plans to advance that strategy. Just some of the final initiatives are targeted to:

  1. Ensure that there is an organization who continues to drive success around increasing walking in the city;
  2. Increase safety of all people who walk in Austin;
  3. Increase visibility for pedestrians and walkable places in City decision making through the creation of  a Pedestrian Advisory council; and,
  4. Engage the community and local businesses through outreach and social events that highlight the benefits of walking.

Photo of full leadership team with Jeremy speakingAustin’s leadership team is currently in the final stage of unveiling their updated action plans and working to formalize as a coalition to support their final strategy. This effort, originally spawned by a partnership between the city and community advocates, appears to be creating even more opportunity for the community to come together and help lead future efforts to increase walking. Says Jessica Tunon, one of the key planning team members, “The panel discussion and workshop held here in May, was a great catalyst for assembling a team of walkability enthusiasts. In recognition of our increase in population of approximately 150 persons per day, and as an outcome of the workshop, the City of Austin is contemplating the creation of a Pedestrian Advisory Council. Through this work we will be able to serve diverse communities in our region, including building strong partnerships to support traditionally underserved populations in order to improve community environments for walking to everyday destinations. America Walks provides outside expertise, experiences, and strategy development to support this critical cause.”

Of course, we’ll keep you posted on their exciting progress; and stay tuned next week, as we provide a recap of the Door County workshop held in Late May.


America Walks’ Walking Action Network Workshops, produced through a funding partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Public Health Association, are connecting local leaders and community members with the talents and expertise of America Walks on specific issues, as well as providing customized workshops that will result in a refined strategic action-plan for initiatives to increase walking and improve walkability.


Interested in how strategic planning and meeting facilitation services by S & G Endeavors can help your organization take action, contact me for an initial consultation.

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