Last Fall, we went to the Renaissance High School in Springfield to work with a small group of high schoolers on how to do a Bikeability Assessment. That initial training has now grown into a larger project, and last week Programs Director Price Armstrong went back to Renaissance High School to teach even more students about principles of bikeability and how the assessment tool works. Their aim: reshape Carew Street as a route from the High School to the Connecticut Riverwalk and Bikeway.
Like the Blue Line Pilot Program, which was led by East Boston youth, this project is an opportunity for Springfield youth to document the barriers to bikeability that exist in their city. Carew Street is a perfect area for such a project, as it is an alternate highway route that carries fast-moving traffic through residential and commercial areas, not to mention right by their school. Many of the students often go to a small commercial area located further north on Carew Street for snacks or to hang out after school, while others have to cross it just to get home. Improving this street will make it safer for everyone – bicyclists, pedestrians, transit users and motorists.
Ultimately, the information they collect will be put together into a report and submitted to the City. It will serve as the foundation for an ongoing effort to improve Springfield’s streets, much of it made possible through the support of Mass in Motion. As the project moves forward, MassBike will continue providing input to help the students be as effective as possible in reaching their goal. This is a great example of leveraging local energy to improve biking in communities around the state. We’ll keep you posted as this project moves forward.