California Active Communities invites communities throughout the state to apply to host a Walkable Community Workshop led by its team of walkability experts. California is the first state in the nation to offer Walkable Community Workshops led by trained, in-state experts.
The four-hour workshops are presented by one of seven active living professionals who are recognized by California Active Communities and the California Department of Transportation as California walkability experts. Based on best practices from the National Center for Bicycling and Walking, the workshops combine practical presentations on community design with fieldwork that lets participants identify, and then pursue, concrete steps to make their communities more walkable.
If your community is concerned about traffic, pedestrian safety, public health, safe routes to school and/or transit options, consider applying to host a workshop. Please review the following information before applying:
Walkable Community Workshops have been presented around the country for the past eight years. In just four hours, the workshops have helped groups composed of elected officials, local government staff, transportation engineers, land use planners, business owners and citizens analyze their community’s design and identify needed improvements. Communities have created successful traffic calming projects, designed pedestrian-friendly intersections, and launched safe routes to school campaigns. Most importantly, more people in these communities are walking, biking and riding public transit!
California Active Communities-sponsored Walkable Community Workshops have focused on safe routes to school, safe routes to transit, and safe routes for seniors. They have been held in Alameda, Berkeley, Central Los Angeles, East Los Angeles, Eureka, Pasadena, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, and Santa Monica. The workshops are presented by one of seven active living professionals who are recognized by California Active Communities and California Department of Transportation as California walkability experts. These walkability experts were trained by renowned walkability expert Charles Gandy, president of Livable Communities, Inc. They have hands-on experience and professional knowledge about how to create more walkable communities.
Introductory Discussion: A California Walkability Expert provides data on pedestrian and bicyclist safety; examples of satisfactory and unsatisfactory accommodations within the community; and samples of how other communities are addressing similar concerns, including: engineering, enforcement, education, and encouragement projects and programs.
Walkabout: The expert leads participants on a neighborhood walk audit and assists participants in identifying satisfactory and unsatisfactory conditions, noting special problems for children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.
Consensus Building: Working in groups, participants highlight neighborhood maps with suggestions on how to improve specific infrastructure features.
Action Plan: Taking the ideas offered in the workshop, participants identify specific short- and long-term actions to improve community walkability.
Applications will be accepted from local coordinators representing organizations such as city government, business associations, planning firms, public health departments, school districts, nonprofits and community-based organizations on an ongoing basis. The local coordinator should be engaged professionally or personally in local community issues.
The local workshop coordinator is responsible for:
- Identifying a specific target area and walkabout route for the workshop.
- Setting a workshop date, reserving a meeting room close to the target area, and securing equipment.
- Working with the Walkability Expert to develop a list of workshop invitees.
- Notifying appropriate media outlets about the workshop.
- Providing a tour of the target neighborhood to the Walkability Expert (preferably the morning of the workshop).
- Providing the Walkability Expert with necessary background information such as design guidelines, master plans and circulation elements, local laws and regulations, traffic and engineering data, etc.
- Preparing workshop packets and replicating materials from California Active Communities.
- Overseeing fiscal matters and providing payment for workshop services rendered directly to the designated California Walkability Expert.
- Administering follow-up evaluations and providing data to California Active Communities. California Active Communities is tracking community activity for possible future technical assistance.
The local host’s share of the costs is $1,200* per workshop, plus travel expenses for the California Walkability Expert. The workshop fee goes directly to the expert and covers training, direct support and technical assistance.
Services provided by the California Walkability Expert include:
- Preparing with the local host two to three hours prior to the workshop.
- Conducting the four-hour workshop, including: a customized PowerPoint presentation of Walkable Community concepts, guided walkabout and facilitation of group discussions and consensus building.
- Suggesting resources and tools for implementing action plans for the
local staff following the workshop.
* The workshop cost is not meant to be prohibitive for communities. California Active Communities encourages local hosts to seek support for the workshop from various sources, including their departments of public works, public health, parks and recreation, local businesses, and key partners. If you would like suggestions on how best to approach potential funding sources, email California Active Communities staff at CAactivecommunities@cdph.ca.gov.