Is active transportation (such as walking, bicycling, rollerskating or using a wheelchair or stroller) already a strong part of your community? Are the roads and trails conducive to active transportation for all types of people? How safe do you feel when walking or biking in the PA Wilds?
The PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship was part of a conversation on this topic that happened during the Walk-Bike-Roll event on May 19 at the Six&Kane building in Kane, McKean County. The event was held by the PA Route 6 Alliance and PA WalkWorks/the Pennsylvania Downtown Center, with key sponsorship from West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund (WPPSEF) and the North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission (North Central).
It was a full day of interactive learning and brainstorming, featuring locally tailored presentations from a national expert discussing the recently adopted regional Active Transportation Plan, completed by North Central for the municipal level. In addition to the plan, the workshop focused on making sure that momentum is continued for expanding not just greenway and trail access but also the use of active modes for everyday transportation within individual municipalities.
The goal is for every community to have safe, accessible, inviting and connected opportunities to walk and bike, whether for recreation and sport or transportation and tourism.
The event was open to anyone interested in active living-based economic development. Among the attendees were municipal officials and employees, planners, community leaders, non-profit organizations, local business owners, and members of the general public.
One of the featured guest speakers was Natalie Villwock-Witte, a transportation engineer and researcher at Montana State University and author of Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements Realized in Communities of Under 10,000. The work includes case studies of multiple communities in Kentucky, Florida, New Mexico, Minnesota, and Vermont – many with relevance for the small boroughs and hamlets of Northern Tier Pennsylvania.
In addition to the learning that was done inside Six&Kane during the workshop, more fun happened before and after the official Walk-Bike-Roll workshop. There were pre- and post- tours by bike and on foot the evening before the event, as well as a mural tour. After the workshop, participants were also invited to test out e-bikes to get to know what it’s like to ride one and how they might be used on roadways throughout the region. A happy hour also allowed participants to get to know each other and brainstorm even after the day’s work was done.
Other event partners included the National Center for Rural Road Safety, the Western Transportation Institute, McKean County Planning and Kane Area Development Center.
Photos are courtesy of PA Route 6 Alliance.