GREENFIELD — A group of about 20 adults, flanked by people in yellow safety vests, walked in a rectangle from the intersection of Boyd Avenue and State Road 9 to Pizza Hut, down the alley, toward Harris Elementary School and back to Hancock Regional Hospital.
Mostly Greenfield residents, the people were not sightseeing but performing a walking audit of that area of Greenfield. They imagined what walking through that area would be like for a small child walking to or from school, for a mom with a stroller, or for a person who has a visual impairment.
The group, which included city leaders, representatives from nonprofit organizations and local businessmen, examined Greenfield’s walking paths as part of the Active Living Workshop at the Sue Ann Wortman Cancer Center at Hancock Regional Hospital, 801 N. State St., Greenfield, hosted by the Indiana State Department of Health and Health by Design, an organization that works to ensure Indiana communities have neighborhoods, public spaces and transportation infrastructure that promote physical activity and healthy living.
Pete Fritz, Indiana State Department of Health, spoke about ways city leaders can make it easier for residents to walk or bicycle in Greenfield. It’s important to create spaces for people, not just cars, he said.
In addition, buffers like trees, grassy areas and parked cars between roadways and where people are walking make pedestrians feel safer and more likely to walk, he said.
While on the walking audit, Fritz pointed out areas where sidewalks are inconsistent or nonexistent.
“Little gaps are what shut down a whole intersection from being a safe trip,” he said. He said the area the group walked through wasn’t terrible, but rather it offered opportunities for improvement.