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Forum Roundup: Auditing New Brunswick’s Walkability

March 19th, 2013 by

At the 2013 Redevelopment Forum, one of the afternoon sessions was an interactive planning workshop. After luncheon speaker John Fregonese emphasized the importance of participatory planning, it was a natural transition to focus on the value of community participation in identifying opportunities for streetscape improvements that increase an area’s friendliness to pedestrians.

The workshop was conducted in downtown New Brunswick, home to hospitals, restaurants, markets, and residences, all within close proximity and generating abundant street activity. In the first half of the workshop, participants took a walking tour of George Street and French Street to experience first-hand this rapidly changing and vibrant community. Led by James Van Schoick AICP, project coordinator at the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center, participants noted crosswalks, street lighting, and maintenance issues, as well as innovative pedestrian infrastructure the city has implemented recently.

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Workshop participants visualize their ideal streets using arts and crafts.

New Brunswick Planning Director Glenn Patterson explains an intersection alignment.

Interactive planning walkshop participants return to the Hyatt after touring downtown New Brunswick.

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The session concluded back at the conference; participants were given an opportunity both individually and in teams to visualize their ideal planning environment using not words or colored drawings but random pieces of art and crafts.

Charles Brown, senior research specialist at the Voorhees Transportation Center, guided participants through the visioning activities. Participants also took home a list of best practices and resources to make streets more accommodating to all users.

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