A significant component of the Live Well Springfield movement is the promotion and facilitation of healthy behavior. We are focusing on making walking and bicycling easier and fun. Efforts include developing the city’s (and indeed Western Massachusetts) first ever municipal pedestrian and bicycle plan to make sure that people can walk and bicycle to all the places they live, work, play and pray, as well as institutionalizing the consideration of the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists into city development practice. Of course much of the new activity at the Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club is also related to promoting walking and bicycling, including the purchase of a brand new fleet of bicycles available for use by Springfield residents. The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC), the regional planning agency for Springfield and 42 other cities and towns in Hampden and Hampshire counties, is taking the lead on the development of the pedestrian and bicycle plan in collaboration with the City of Springfield’s new Healthy Design Coordinator. The city engaged the services of MassBike, Massachusetts Bicycle Advocacy organization who in turn hired a local Springfield native, Jimmy Pereira, to work as the Healthy Design Coordinator. PVPC’s work is being led by Jeff McCollough, Bicycle/Pedestrian planner with 20 years experience including facilitating the development of the region’s pedestrian/bicycle plan. Jeff also serves on the Massachusetts Pedestrian/Bicycle Advisory Committee, which oversees development of the State’s pedestrian and bicycle plans. Josiah Neiderbach, who facilitates Bike Commute week and who recently completed the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (a 400 mile ride!) will also be working on the plan and Catherine Ratté is overseeing the effort. Catherine worked promoting pedestrian and bicycle safety in Wisconsin before returning to the Pioneer Valley (where she grew up) and she, in collaboration with James Lowenthal of MassBike, got the Pioneer Valley’s first ever bike commute week off the ground in 1999. Catherine moved to Springfield a couple years ago and regularly walks or bikes to work.
City residents have been invited to participate in the development of the Ped/Bike plan via completing an on-line survey as well as volunteering to serve on a Pedestrian/Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC). The PBAC will meet 4-5 times to work on the plan from April to September 2014. Residents as well as city officials and other decision makers have also participated in developing the Ped/Bike plan via series of community meetings and forums held in the Fall, Winter and Spring of 2013-2014.
With the help of Live Well Springfield Community Partners, data was collected from across the city about walking and biking in Springfield. This data is being used to inform the Pedestrian/Bike Plan that Pioneer Valley is developing on behalf of the City of Springfield. View the results in this summary report.