Tonight: Learn How to Map Neighborhoods for Better Walking and Biking

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The Community Active Living Coalition aims to improve walkability and bikeability in Denver neighborhoods where obesity is most prevalent. Image: Department of Environmental Health

Data about the city’s walkability is crucial, because it drives decisions on where and how the Department of Public Works prioritizes improvements.

The city of Denver doesn’t systematically measure the walkability of streets, but that’s beginning to change. Advocates and agencies have taken to the streets to record walking conditions with WalkScope, a crowdsourcing app that enables people to map the quality of streets in a given neighborhood.

The city’s least walkable neighborhoods are also its poorest, and tend to be where childhood obesity is most prevalent, according to Denver’s Community Active Living Coalition, a group led by Denver Health, the Department of Environmental Health, and WalkDenver.

By mapping the quality of Denver’s sidewalks, crosswalks, and street lighting, as well as the number of traffic lanes people have to cross, CALC hopes to show decision makers where and how the city’s walking environment needs to improve.

To do that, CALC needs volunteers. The group is looking for people to spend some time walking around neighborhoods north of Colfax and west of Broadway, where household incomes are lower than average and the state of infrastructure for walking and biking is poor. CALC’s program targets areas around Denver public schools to make it easier for students to walk to and from class.

Anyone can participate. WalkScope is easy to use, but volunteers can record the walking environment with pen and paper, too. CALC is holding a training tomorrow evening, so take a couple of hours to make Denver more walkable in the places that need it most.

The meeting starts at 5 p.m. at the Colorado School of Public Health CU Anschutz Medical Campus, 13001 E. 17th Place, Aurora, Building ED2 North (near 19th Ave & Uvalda Ct.), room 1206.

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