California Walks: Using collaboration to put its “Best Foot Forward”



picture showing 5 people in a small group discussion during the workshop


California Walks is reporting an early victory from their Fall 2014 Summit: their collaborative Strategic Framework Goals are about to be adopted as California’s pedestrian safety strategies (Strategic Highway Safety Plan). Good luck to California Walks and it’s network of walking organizations across the state. We look forward to hearing of your future success.


This post outlines a summary of the design and delivery of the summit that we facilitated for California Walks. For a full recap of the summit and to see how the organization is moving action forward with the help of summit participants, visit

On November 8 and 9, California’s diverse thought leaders and on-the-ground walking advocates came together as a community of engaged stakeholders with a clear and compelling purpose:

To celebrate the work each of us are doing to strengthen, grow, and transform walkability to be safer in all of the communities across California; and

To build a stronger, more representative, and more engaged network to establish an actionable walkability agenda for California.

Picture of small group discussion around vision 0

S & G Endeavors helped in the planning and facilitation of the workshop, working with the leadership of California Walks to bring together other leaders from America Walks, Circulate San Diego, WALKSacramento, Walk San Francisco, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, Los Angeles Walks, and a variety of additional organizations working toward a more walkable California.

Why? Driving this meeting was an assumed belief that this was the right time for walkability advocates to build off of the knowledge learned and connections made at the 2014 PedsCount! Summit (in May 2014) to create a community-driven, solidified plan of action to achieve increased walkability in California.

picture of the panel of possibilities from the Best Foot Forward Summit

How? Twelve planning team members met virtually over three months to plan for the Best Foot Forward Summit on November 8 and 9. The work of the planning team helped:

  • Design the collaborative approach and agenda for the summit;
  • Invite people to the conversation; and,
  • Create a draft strategic approach that would increase walkability in both local communities and across the state, as a whole.

picture of people in the hallway voting to prioritize action plans

The Summit—Accelerating the Planning: Over two jam-packed days in November 2014, nearly 40 walkability leaders and visionaries crafted a collective, Strategic Framework to advance walkability across California at the Best Foot Forward Summit in Oakland, CA. The Strategic Framework will help promote synergies and collaboration across sectors with a variety of concrete action steps outlined.

Collaborative strategic action planning as essential to help an organization and a movement define where we’re going and what it will take to achieve the community change we seek,” Says Wendy Alfsen, California Walks’ Executive Director. “Working intensively with our diverse stakeholders using the collaborative planning process facilitated by S&G created an immensely powerful California Strategic Framework for Increasing Walkability.

Alfsen went on to remark, “With help from our stakeholders, we have defined a clear, supported, and compelling vision for Walking in California by 2025. Thanks to the participation at the summit,  we also have the clear, supported, and measurable action plans needed to achieve goals in:

  • Safety-Vision Zero
  • Equity-reduce disparity and increase opportunity by 50%
  • Investment – Triple funding; and,
  • Mode Share – Doubling walking trips.”

For more information about California Walks:

To discuss options for designing a collaborative summit: Contact us


Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,
0 comments on “California Walks: Using collaboration to put its “Best Foot Forward”