3 communities win Healthy Motion awards

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Maynard, Northampton and Somerville are the recipients of the 2007 Massachusetts Healthy Motion Awards, which recognize communities for their efforts to promote bicycling and walking as means of transportation.

The awards were presented by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Executive Office of Transportation and Public Works at the 2007 Smart Growth/Smart Energy Conference in Worcester on Dec. 7.

Maynard’s 2004 Community Development Plan included goals to maintain roadways and sidewalks and improve bicycle routes and parking. Since the creation of the plan, sidewalks and crosswalks have been improved, and a traffic island for pedestrian safety has been reconstructed. Bicycle accommodations include bicycle racks as well as funding for development of the Assabet River Rail Trail.

Northampton’s transportation plan is designed to ensure that bike and pedestrian facilities and programs adequately and equally serve all residents. The city has more than 150 bike racks, and 16 fully enclosed bike shelters. Ninety percent of city buses have bike racks, and many new subdivisions incorporate not just sidewalks but bike paths. Contributing to Northampton’s pedestrian-friendly climate is a traffic-calming initiative that encourages residents to drive more slowly.

Somerville officials have promoted two related programs to encourage physical activity. Shape Up Somerville, which began in 2003, seeks to improve the health of residents by promoting physical activity as part of daily life. Safe-START (Safe, Sustainable Transportation Assessment and Recommendation Team) began in January 2006 as a means of creating conditions on city streets, sidewalks and intersections that increase the number of people who walk, bike or use other self-propelled means of transportation.
Written by MMA Associate Editor Mitch Evich