Watertown Takes Part In 'Walk Audit'

Watertown Takes Part In 'Walk Audit'

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It's called a walk audit.

"The idea of a walk audit is to go out and explore on foot. It's very different to drive down a road and walk down a road," said Mark Fenton, a consultant and adjunct professor at Tufts University in Boston.

He does walk audits across the country. Tuesday he was in downtown Watertown.

His audience was a mix of city and county officials, and others who walk downtown.  

As part of the walk audit, the group walked and then talked about the positive and negative aspects of getting from here to there.  

Along the way, Fenton offered up his ideas of improving the walkability, including extending curbs at crosswalks to make pedestrians more visible to drivers and to shorten the crossing distance.  

He used his group to show what that would look like.  Another idea was to put a median island on Arsenal street in front of the county courthouse.

"It makes me only cross one lane at the time, first the left and then the right. It makes it much safer for drivers as well as pedestrians," he said.

Fenton visited Watertown in 2007 and since then, he says the city has made progress with slowing down traffic, and making city streets safer - all part of Watertown's 'Complete Streets' program, a policy of designing streets for all drivers, walkers, bikers and transit riders. After this visit, he'll send his ideas to city hall.  

"It was a good chance to hear his perspective and discuss with some people from the community and other government officials as to things that are working good, things that could be improved upon and some concepts that are working great in other parts of the country," said Justin Wood, city engineer. 

Listening to someone who walks the walk and talks the talk when it comes to improving downtown Watertown for everyone. 

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