Main Street program managers and volunteers from 35 communities across Oklahoma traveled to Ada on Aug. 4-6 to learn more about downtown walkability during a recent training. The Oklahoma Main Street Center holds two required trainings each year, each one focusing a specific part of the Four-Point Approach. This training focused on the Design Point.
Walkability is a term that refers to how friendly the area is to pedestrian traffic and is an important concept in sustainable urban design.
“Even our smallest communities find the value in making it easier for people to get around the historic downtown/community area,” said Linda Barnett, director of the Oklahoma Main Street Program. “Making sure our communities are safe for all modes of traffic (pedestrian, bicycle, automobile) was very eye opening for our communities.”
Speakers for this training included Ron Frantz, former Oklahoma Main Street program staff architect, now with the Institute for Quality Communities at the University of Oklahoma; Randall Lee with the Oklahoma chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association; Barbara Tartar with LandPlan Consultants; and Mark Fenton, Senior Consultant for the Walkable and Liveable Communities Institute, Port Townsend, Wash.
“We all know that change happens slowly, even incrementally, in Main Street endeavors which can be frustrating,” said Barnett. “Each speaker at this training gave us all examples we could implement tomorrow to make a difference, even if just a small difference, in the walkability and safety of our downtowns for locals and visitors.
After receiving a 98 percent approval rating, Barnett added that it would seem this training definitely hit the mark with the program managers and volunteers.
“The training provided by Oklahoma Main Street was again another great opportunity for Main Street Altus to bring back ideas to our community. Downtown Altus is provided with great sidewalks and I encourage citizens of Altus to utilize our walkable and liveable community by getting out and walking 30 minutes a day or taking a bike ride,” said Amy Jo Cobb, Main Street Altus program manager.
For more information about this training, contact the Oklahoma Main Street program at 405-815-6552. The next training will be in Ponca City, Nov. 3-5. The topic is to be determined. As always, these trainings are free and open to the public.
The Oklahoma Main Street Center provides training and technical assistance for preservation-based commercial district revitalization. Since 1985, more than 60 towns have been a part of the Main Street Center family. There are currently 35 active Main Street programs across the state. For more information on the Oklahoma Main Street Center visit www.OKcommerce.gov/mainstreet.