Walking Advocates

 

Getting Started

America Walks members have been successful champions at the local, state, and national level. There are many ways to get started as a champion for walkable communities. Try these three steps to organize your community, or contact our national office to request more guidance.

Step 1: Plan a “walking meeting”.

Ask an elected or appointed official to take a walk. You might be pleasantly surprised by how easy this is. Elected officials love a chance to step out of the office and meet with constiutents in a more relaxed setting. You can use your time to raise general issues related to walking or specific problems at the community level.

The good feelings from having enjoyed the fresh air together will translate into good will and further action.

Step 2: Find a reporter at your local newspaper who is interested in covering issues related to walking.

Articles about pedestrian issues in local papers are almost always well received. Everyone can relate to pedestrian issues, because everyone is a pedestrian.

Whether you are organizing generally for pedestrian infrastructure, or specifically for one project, these types of issues make good local news stories. Pick up the phone and call an individual reporter or call the editorial board and ask them to connect you to a reporter. Don’t be afraid. They are looking for stories and for committed activists who make their stories come to life.

One you have made contact, suggest that you go out for a walk together. Nothing says it better than the actual thing!

Step 3: Host a community meeting.

Partnership is a critical aspect of organizing. Announce and hold a public meeting – at the local library or community center, in someone’s living room, or even in conjunction with a neighborhood or business association meeting.

Bring a map of your community that can be posted on the wall. Print out some materials or bring multi-media to share – maps, pictures, videos, bus schedules, trail routes. Focus the discussion on your communities assets and it opportunities for change. Put pushpins on the maps or circle critical areas. Draw in needed crosswalk and sidewalk improvements.

Share some case studies of change from America Walks’ member groups experience or some of the case studies available at www.walkinginfo.org or activelivingbydesign.org Discuss who else to involve and the process for collaboration. Use your meeting to plan a course of action or to plan regular walks in various areas of your community.

Please let us know how we can assist you.