FARMINGTON — With a focus on Front Street, a Walking Workshop to discuss pedestrian and bike activities is planned from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday, May 23, in The Company Restaurant building.
Business owners, municipal officials and anyone interested in a “walkability” audit are invited to join Joan Walton, transportation planner, from Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments for a presentation followed by a walking tour of Front Street on Monday.
The audit is similar to others completed in Jay-Livermore Falls and in Wilton last year, Town Manager Richard Davis said. Walton contacted Davis to see if there was interest for one in Farmington and with a recent focus on development in the Front Street area it was chosen for the audit, he said.
Walton presents the walking audit in an effort to get communities and villages to look at the pedestrian network and how it supports business or what the community can do in support of economic development on Front Street, she said.
Following a presentation, Walton will take participants on a walk down Front Street then return to the upper level of The Company building to write and discuss what they saw and what they think is needed along the busy street running parallel to Main Street.
Farmington is already a walkable community but there are things that are missing and things that can be improved, she said. With a University of Maine at Farmington parking lot and athletic fields off Front Street, university students provide a good example of where people want to walk, she said.
The Farmington Downtown Association has looked at parts of it, Davis said. Their work resulted in the town’s application for a Community Development Block Grant for sidewalk work on Pleasant and Front streets. Work will begin in back of Meetinghouse Park this summer but some engineering work is needed on Front Street so the work there will probably wait until next year, Davis said.
With the rising costs of gasoline, Davis said he thinks the town should “do everything we can to encourage safe walking and biking.”
The Maine Department of Transportation provides funding for AVCOG to hold these walking audits, Walton said.
The walk will take place rain or shine and all are welcome.