Walk Wilton, NY

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Monica Howe started this petition to Town of Wilton

                                      WALK WILTON PROJECT

          The residents of Wilton are proposing to have sidewalks installed on the following streets: Phase one sidewalks would include Gick/Jones Road, extending from NY-29 to Route 50, and Maple Ave 9p extending from NY-29 to just past Spring Run. Phase two would include adding sidewalks to Carr Road, Northern Pines Road extending from Maple Ave 9p to Lonesome Pine Trail and Smith Bridge Road. The primary focus first being safe neighborhood accessibility to Gavin Park, Dorothy Nolan Elementary School and Maple Avenue Middle School. In addition, we propose any new construction or building in the town of Wilton will be required to incorporate sidewalks.

          Sidewalks play a vital role in community life. As a way for pedestrian movement and access, they enhance connectivity and promote walking. As public spaces, sidewalks are the front steps to a community, activating streets both socially and economically. It makes little sense that in this neighborhood, sidewalks do not exist.

          We as a community would like to make Wilton more inclusive. Sidewalks enable people from all socioeconomic status, and with all types of disabilities an opportunity to safe access to alternate transportation, including safe access to bus routes and safe access to our local health care facilities. The ability to link Wilton sidewalks to the 94 miles of Saratoga Springs City sidewalks provides safe access to a multitude of opportunities for everyone including people who are disadvantaged.

          Covid 19 virus has taught us a lot. It made us all stop, think and see things in a new light. We as a community want to refocus our energies on what matters most. Recent events have forced us to not only stay home more, but spend more time in our own community. We have been given the opportunity to slow down. We are working from home, loving it and not going back to the antiquated life style prepandemic. We go for more walks, ride bikes, play more with our kids, take our kids to school instead of the bus, and explore more than ever before, outside in our own back yards.

            In doing this, talk became strong and loud in this community, why can't we walk our kids safely to Gavin Park? Why can't we walk our kids safely to their school (Dorothy Nolan, Maple Ave)? Why can't we walk safely to the post office, the bank, or the local coffee shop? Where do the citizens of Wilton get their sense of community? WHERE ARE THE SIDEWALKS OTHER TOWNS HAVE? Wilton can do and be better!

          The children of Wilton are home now more than ever before. We hear parents and experts saying they need to get of their electronics, get outside, play, walk to your friends house, or go to the park. Unfortunately, over and over the answer is Jones Road and Maple Avenue are to dangerous to walk or ride on. Parents won't let their kids walk or ride on these roads, it's not safe. Adults don't feel safe to walk or ride on these roads let alone their children. The cars are to fast and to frequent. We can't walk our kids safely to the park. We can't walk them safely to their schools. In 2018 there were 6,283 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in the United States. On average, a pedestrian was killed every 84 minutes in a traffic crash. That is more than 17 people a day, almost 121 people a week. Pedestrians killed while "walking along the roadway" Many of these tragedies are preventable. Providing walkways separated from the travel lanes could help to prevent up to 88 percent of these "walking along roadway crashes. Why are there no sidewalks in Wilton? It's time for a change.

          Everywhere towns across America are recognizing the importance of a walkable community, for safety, for better health physically and mentally. The U.S. adult obesity rate stands at 42.4 percent, the first time the national rate has passed the 40 percent mark, and further evidence of the country's obesity crisis. The national adult obesity rate has increased by 26 percent since 2008. Statistics show that People who live in neighborhoods with sidewalks are 47 percent more likely to be active at least 39 minutes a day.

          We need to come together as a community in order to improve our lives. Sidewalks improve safety, equity and inclusivity, communication, and  understanding of our neighbors. They give safe access to alternate transportation, increase property values, beautify the neighborhood, promote business, improve health, bring people together and help to create a sense of community.

     We ask you to please sign the petition Walk Wilton today for a better tomorrow. We owe it to our children, and future generations.

                                       WALK WILTON WALK SAFE

                                                   Key Points

Among the benefits of sidewalks:

- Walkability to downtown Saratoga. Will increase property value.

- Saratoga Springs has one of America’s best Downtowns, 94 miles of sidewalks that the town of Wilton can easily connect with. Saratoga has been designated a Bronze-Level Walk Friendly Community.

- Saratoga Springs recent sidewalk project is funded by a $1.52 million grant through the 2019-2024 Federal Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). Federal funding provides 80% of the funding.

- Sidewalks enable people from all socioeconomic status, and with all types of disabilities an opportunity to safe access to alternate transportation, including safe access to bus routes and safe access to our local health care facilities.

- Sidewalks will give the Wilton community better access to the Saratoga Greenbelt Trail.

- People who live in neighborhoods with sidewalks are 47 percent more likely to be active at least 39 minutes a day.

 - A well-constructed walkway for a typical 50-foot-wide residential property might cost a builder $2,000, but it can return 15 times that investment in resale value.

- In a scenario where two houses are nearly identical, the one with a five-foot-wide sidewalk and two street trees not only sells for $4,000 to $34,000 more but it also sells in less time.

- Retail properties with a Walk Score ranking of 80 out of 100 were valued 54 percent higher than properties with a Walk Score of 20 and had an increase in net operating income of 42 percent for more walkable properties.

- Sidewalks increase foot traffic in retail centers, delivering the customers that local shops and restaurants need in order to thrive

- Federal DOT survey suggests that rural residents strongly desire access to walking infrastructure. It found that 95 percent of them rate sidewalks as important to their community, a higher figure than for major roads, adequate parking, and airport access.

- Half of all kids walked or biked to school in 1969. Now it's less than 15 percent.

- Battle Lake, Minnesota, downsized a highway running through town. Highway 78 — the town's Main Street — local citizens persuaded the agency to do a road diet, narrowing the roadway from four lanes to three, and widening the sidewalk through downtown. Twenty-one new businesses opened in town, including a hotel and bakery, since the project was completed in 2014, reports MnDOT.

- Road diets reduce crashes by 29 percent, according to the Federal Highway Administration, and have been sanctioned by the agency as a "proven safety countermeasure." They address one of the biggest road safety problems in small towns — the fact that high-speed federal, state, and county highways frequently run past stores, schools, churches, offices, and other destinations frequented by pedestrians, including children.

                                             Common Myths:

-  “No one will use the sidewalk.” This might have been true in the past, but research published in 2012 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention7 (CDC) and in 2013 by the National Center for Safe Routes to School8 shows that a growing number of people are walking, and that many are children and adults age 65 and older. People just need safe, convenient and pleasant places near their homes, schools and workplaces to make walking routine, says the CDC study.

-  “Americans prefer to drive.” Perhaps, or maybe they’re driving so much because there are no sidewalks! Federal data on vehicle miles traveled and a recent national study show a decline in driving and car ownership during the 2000s in an overwhelming majority of metro areas. At the same time, the number of people commuting by bicycle and transit increased.9 A survey by the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership found that 55 percent of Americans would prefer to walk more and drive less.10

- “Trees will be destroyed.” Not necessarily. Sidewalks can be curved to avoid trees. In fact, protecting a tree is one of the few reasons for a sidewalk to deviate from a direct route.11

-  “A sidewalk will take land from my lawn.” Many homeowners don’t realize how far from the curb their private property line actually extends. There’s often enough of a public right-of-way easement in place to create a sidewalk without infringing in any way on a property owner’s land.12

- “People will walk too close to my house.” There’s little difference between what passersby can see from a sidewalk versus what they can already see from their cars or by walking along the edge of the street. Any nearness added by a sidewalk would likely be as little as a just a few feet.13

- “Sidewalks increase crime.” Actually, increased pedestrian activity puts more eyes on the street and creates safety in numbers, which deters and reduces criminal activity.14

- “Tax dollars are better spent on other needs.” Since sidewalks increase property values and tax revenues, they serve as an economic engine. Plus, sidewalk maintenance costs are real estate tax-deductible (IRS Publication 530). Sidewalks are also safety investments (by bringing more eyes and ears to the street) and an integral part of a balanced transportation budget. 15

More Livability Fact Sheets
APA Learn: Tactical Urbanism: People and Pavement: Learn how to set up a program for community-initiated demonstration projects to test ideas for improving walking and biking.

Highway 61 Revisited: The scenic harbor town of Grand Marais, Minnesota, goes on a road diet and gets a highway makeover after teaming up with MnDOT on a context-sensitive solution.

AARP: Rural Livability resources include videos, articles, slideshows, presentations, and more. Visit AARP's Livable Communities newsletter online. AARP Livability Fact Sheet - Sidewalks


1. National Association of Realtors. (November 2013) National Community Preference Survey. http://www.realtor.org/articles/nar-2013-community-preference-survey 2. Sallis J., et al. “Neighborhood Environments and Physical Activity among Adults in 11 countries.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Vol. 36, No.2 3. National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). (October 2012) Urban Street Design Guide pp 24-25. http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/ pdf/2012-nacto-urban-street-design-guide.pdf 4. Walk Score® is an online logarithmic ranking system that determines the basic walkability of a residential or commercial property. Walk Score uses neighborhood factors such as distance to shops and schools to create a number between 0 and 100 that measures the walkability of any address http://www.walkscore.com 5. Pivo, G. and Fisher, J.D. (2010) The Walkability Premium in Commercial Real Estate Investments. University of Arizona and Benecki Center for Real Estate Studies, Indiana University. http://www.u.arizona.edu/~gpivo/Walkability%20Paper%208_4%20draft.pdf 6. Cortright, J. Impresa, Inc., CEOs for Cities. (August 2009) Walking the Walk: How Walkability Raises Home Values in U.S. Cities. http://www.ceosforcities.org/pagefiles/ WalkingTheWalk_CEOsforCities.pdf 7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (August 2012) Vital Signs. http://www.nmhc.org/files/ContentFiles/Brochures/Myth%20and%20Fact%20FINAL.pdf 8. National Center for Safe Routes to School. (October 2013) Trends in Walking and Bicycling to School from 2007 – 2012. http://saferoutesinfo.org/sites/default/files/ Trends_in_Walking_and_Bicycling_to_School_from_2007_to_2012_FINAL.pdf 9. U.S. PIRG Educational Fund. (December 2013) Transportation in Transition: A Look at Changing Travel Patterns in America’s Biggest Cities. http://www.uspirg.org/news/ usp/study-shows-driving-decline-america%E2%80%99s-cities 10. Surface Transportation Policy Project, Belden Russonello & Stewart. (April 2003) Americans’ Attitudes Toward Walking and Creating Better Walking Communities. http:// www.transact.org/library/reports_pdfs/pedpoll.pdf.Whetmore J.Z. “Retrofit Sidewalks.” Perils for Pedestrians Public Affairs Series (November 2012) Retrieved March 3, 2014 http://www.pedestrians.org/retrofit/retrofit15.htm 11. Rails to Trails Conservancy, National Park Service. (January 1998) Rail-trails and Safe Communities: The Experience on 372 Trails. http://www.railstotrails.org/resources/ documents/resource_docs/Safe%20Communities_F_lr.pdf 12. Ibid

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