Taos Land Trust Leads Walkability Workshop in Downtown Taos
This past Monday the 14th of May, Taos Land Trust coordinated a Walkability Workshop with the UNM Prevention Research Center and Strong at Heart at the PASEO Hub on Civic Plaza Drive.
The purpose of the workshop was to examine six sites around the downtown core for bike and walkability for all users. The six sites were chosen based on Strong at Heart’s community-driven data regarding areas of close-calls or collisions between pedestrians and bicyclists with cars. The six sites were:
• The area around Enos Garcia Elementary School to Civic Plaza Drive and Manzanares St.
• Camino de la Placita from Valverde St. intersection to Ranchitos Rd. intersection. This covered the areas in front of Taos Retirement Village and the town Fire Station.
• Ranchitos Rd. from Camino de la Placita Rd. to Camino del Medio intersection
• Taos High School to La Posta Rd. until Camino del Medio intersection
• Siler Rd. from Salazar Rd. intersection through to Los Pandos Rd. behind Taos High School
• Paseo del Pueblo Norte at Quesnel traffic light to Kit Carson Rd. intersection
As one might imagine, the findings from each site brought up significant issues and barriers to equitable access to making Taos a safe, walk-able and bike-able community. After each group went out to their site, we came back to The Hub for a larger group discussion about findings and closing thoughts. From this we heard a lot of comments like “this area was not ADA compliant at all” or “drivers are speeding by while you are getting pushed into the road by bushes”. Although there were many issues to be found, the ultimate attitude that arose from this discussion was optimistic with the thought of all the possibilities these findings present us with. The group also identified three achievable goals which were:
• Re-painting all crosswalks in the downtown core and by schools (upcoming fall perhaps)
• Trimming shrubbery that is encroaching on sidewalks and roads
• Putting up flashing crosswalk signs near the schools to alert drivers of crossings
We had a great turn out for this workshop with more than 30 people in attendance including Taos Town Councilors Pascualito Maestas and Fritz Hahn. This workshop was facilitated as part of the Strong at Heart Design Charrettes, so we started at The Hub where Strong at Heart has been hosting meetings and presenting some of their designs this week. Participants in the Walkability Workshop got to see the designs that Strong at Heart has been working on based on community input from the last year almost, so it was exciting to visualize what a more walk-able and bike friendly Taos could look like.
Currently, there are many barriers to access to safe, walk-able space in Taos for under-resourced households especially. Through advocating for increased opportunities for across the board, equitable access to places to walk or ride your bike from one place to another, Taos Land Trust will continue to tackle the issues around bike and walkability into the future. Our goal is to cultivate a community driven movement to promote better bike and walkability in town to bridge the gap in access so that all Taoseños have an enhanced quality of life and well-being.