Walkability audit to be done in downtown Bennington


BENNINGTON -- A group will be conducting a "sidewalk audit" Wednesday and is looking for volunteers to help.

Charlie Murphy, of the Vermont Center for Independent Living, said about 10 people have signed up to meet at the Vermont Department of Health, located at 324 Main St., at 10 a.m. To RSVP call 802-447-0574 or email Colleen Arcodia at carcodia@vcil.org.

Murphy said depending on how many people attend, they group will split up and head to the Four Corners with one going down South Street and the other up North Street then onto Pleasant Street, stopping at Park Street and routing back.

The goal is to identify places where people with limits to their mobility might encounter problems, be it a rough sidewalk, a poorly marked crosswalk, or a traffic light that does not give them enough time to cross. He said the groups will also look at how motorists tend to behave around crosswalk areas and spots where businesses are not accessible to people in wheelchairs.

Murphy said this is the first time there's been such an audit in Bennington, but the America Association of Retired Persons, which is working with VCIL locally, has assisted with them in other places.

The audit was planned after a community forum held last year where people with disabilities expressed concern over sidewalks.

Murphy said once the audit is complete its results will be shared with Town Manager Stuart Hurd and the Select Board. The audit is being limited to the downtown area, although there are other places that present problems. "There are rough areas all over town and if we really wanted to we could turn up some stuff," said Murphy.

He said the downtown can benefit from being made more walkable because people with disabilities would be able to get to businesses much easier than they can now. Murphy said a fair number of local leaders are in support of removing barriers to people with mobility issues.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.


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