Are Charlottesville’s pedestrians “strong and fearless”? Are its bicyclists “enthused and confident”? Or are narrow sidewalks, missing bike lanes, and rolling hills holding them back? Those are some of the questions asked in a new online survey meant to inform future efforts to improve the bicycle and pedestrian environment.
“The survey is geared to understand the attitudes of people toward walking and cycling in Charlottesville,” said Wendy Phelps, a Bicycle and Pedestrian Intern for the city. “We also want to identify the things that are barriers.”
A group of concerned citizens developed the questionnaire as part of the Neighborhood Leadership Institute. NLI is a series of classes and workshops hosted by the city to foster participation in local government. It culminates in a final project to improve the community in some way.
“For me, [the institute] was an opportunity to meet neighbors who share a common interest in community involvement through relationships,” said participant Elizabeth Glover. “Together we created a short, directed survey to solicit responses from pedestrians and bikers of all skills and interest levels.”
But even those who elect not to walk or cycle are encouraged to participate in the survey.
“Everyone who lives or works in Charlottesville should take it,” said Phelps. “We are especially interested in people who would like to walk or bike but worry about safety, need more information, or are just hesitant because they haven’t been on a bike in 20 years.”
Phelps says that she is pleased with the level of feedback the survey has been receiving, but hopes to generate more by distributing posters and engaging people at Fridays after Five and the City Market.
“We’ll also be at the Westhaven Community Day this weekend,” Phelps said.
Once all the responses have been collected, NLI participants and city staff will work together to create a density map showing areas where people walk and cycle most often. They will use the survey’s open-ended questions to identify barriers and problem spots.
“The hope is that the City will focus its attention on the areas most important to invested citizens,” Glover said.
To take the survey, click here.