STAYING MOBILE AND CONNECTED AS WE AGE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Atlanta, GA, April 16) –Sunday, April 19, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) will join Atlanta Streets Alive in Atlanta’s historic West End neighborhood to demonstrate some of the important elements that create an age-friendly place.  Atlanta Streets Alive is designed to give people the opportunity to experience vibrant, people-oriented streets that encourage walking, biking and other healthy activities, by taking cars out of the equation for an afternoon.  ARC is teaming up with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition (ABC) to demonstrate how walk-friendly communities enable both young and old to live well and age in place.

Through a grant provided by ARC, event coordinators will employ a planning practice known as tactical urbanism to temporarily and inexpensively transform and revitalize key aspects of the neighborhood to lead to safer transportation options for older adults.  Tactical urbanism showcases methods, ideas and projects that tackle specific challenges in a community, and has led to permanent changes in many communities. For the West End area, the intention of ARC and ABC is to make community improvements that are designed to keep older adults moving and connected to their communities. 

The main feature of the Streets Alive event is a 3.5-mile loop of streets in Historic West End, open to people on foot, bike and other human-powered activities and closed to motorized traffic.  The ARC grant will provide for a pop-up, protected bike lane on Lee Street, built by People for a Livable Lee Street. Lee Street will be highlighted during the event in order to bring attention to the group’s goal of converting this high speed arterial into a place that encourages pedestrian and bike transportation, while connecting neighborhoods, transit and jobs.

“As the nation and the region age, many older adults are looking for more walkable and bikeable communities, close to shopping and amenities,” explains Kathryn Lawler, ARC’s manager of Aging & Health Resources.  “Over the last few years, ARC has provided technical assistance to many communities in the region as they work to become more age-friendly.” Last summer, we took a different approach and conducted a workshop for planners, educators, elected officials and community advocates to teach them how to implement tactical urbanism projects.  Through a competitive process, ARC then selected the Atlanta Bicycle Campaign and the City of Snellville to receive grants to implement what they learned in their communities.  “The hope is that these short-term illustrations can bring about long-term change, creating age-friendly places throughout the entire Atlanta region,” added Lawler.

The two tactical urbanism projects are part of a larger ARC initiative, “Live Beyond Expectations,” supported in part by Grantmakers in Aging, a group of national funders dedicated to improving the experience of aging.  The campaign reminds people that with the promise of living longer, communities must become places where people remain healthy and engaged.  That means individuals will need more choices for housing and transportation, better strategies for maintaining health and expanded access to services. Working together, citizens, government, businesses and philanthropic organizations can realize the promise of longevity and create, lifelong communities that allow us to live life “Beyond Expectations.”

For specific information about lifelong communities and ARC’s role in Atlanta Streets Alive, visit www.atlantaregional.com/llc.

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Elizabeth

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