Being an advocate

Being an Advocate

Active citizens play a vital role in making sure our communities are walker-friendly. Pedestrian advocates share the joys of walking and encourage others to walk more; they raise awareness of unsafe and uninviting walking conditions; and they urge community leaders and public officials to make streets safer for walking.
Here are some of the elements of successful advocacy:

Organize. Even small organizations have more clout than individuals, more energy and more expertise.
Persist. If public officials know that you are never going away, they will eventually deal with you. Be prepared for it to take a while.
Offer solutions. Rather than just oppose a bad project, provide an alternative that improves the status quo.
Respect opponents. Try to understand their positions. Be courteous. Challenge ideas; don’t attack people.
Develop coalitions. Working with other groups can translate into greater political strength.
Get expert help. Technical assistance and support from traffic engineers, planners, landscape architects and lawyers bolsters your position. To better understand the process, talk to your local or regional planning department or agency.
Have fun. Enjoy small victories. Share good food. Laugh when things get ridiculous. If you don’t have fun, you won’t last.

tools

The challenges to safe walking often are obvious. How to overcome them can be less clear. These tools will help you identify the problems pedestrians face and offer solutions for overcoming and improving your walking environment.

Ped Advocacy 101 — Sometimes achieving a solution is as easy as knowing the right person to call. This slide show provides citizens with effective techniques for pedestrian advocacy initiatives at the community level.
Ped Advocacy 101

Ped Advocacy 201 — Equips citizens and community officials with technical information and skills to improve walking conditions
Ped Advocacy 201

A More Walkable Community — Is chock full of quick fixes for crosswalks, WALK signals, sidewalks and streets. It also includes basic guidelines for larger advocacy objectives.
A More Walkable Community

Walk Audit Form - (Updated July 2014) Makes it easy to identify and note issues or problems with sidewalks, intersections, signals and crosswalks, then bring them to the attention of your public works or transportation department WalkBoston Walk Audit Form 

Reporting Form — Makes it easy to identify and note issues or problems with sidewalks, intersections, signals and crosswalks, then bring them to the attention of your public works or transportation department
Reporting Form

Intersection Form — Provides a diagram and space to note deficiencies that should be corrected or good features that should be implemented elsewhere.
Intersection Reporting Form 

 

get involved

Here are some ways to get involved:

  • Attend an organized walk or create one in your community.
  • Participate in community organizations that promote better walking conditions.
  • Write a letter to the editor about the importance of safe walking conditions.
  • Contact your state elected officials about issues and legislation.