DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

July 18, 2013

Community Alliance invites people to take a walk

By Julie Huss
jhuss@derrynews.com

---- — DERRY — Community Alliance for Teen Safety is asking everyone to take a hike — or just a pleasant walk around the neighborhood.

Community Alliance, or CATS, asks people to study their neighborhood and town to seek how “walkable” the area is and wants everyone to give input.

This is a new mission of CATS to get people involved in the life of their town.

“We felt it might be a wonderful tool for families to use while out for a walk enjoying the summer weather,” CATS director Sue Centner said. “It might also serve as a little nudge to encourage families to think about exploring their community and discover the wonderful resources we have in Derry.”

Centner said research shows there are many health benefits to walking. In addition, parents and children can share a walk to talk about other important issues like safety, healthy and being happy — a way to have good, quality family time together.

The program is simple: Take a walk, complete a checklist and send the information back to CATS.

The checklist will ask walkers questions including, “Did you have room to walk?” and “Did drivers behave well?”

Other questions will ask about landscaping, dogs, lighting and ease crossing streets.

This will also tell how the community uses sidewalks, as well as how well pedestrians are able to walk through town safely.

CATS will then use the information and share it with other collaborating agencies to help promote walking and other health initiatives.

Those involved and taking the walks will also learn information about how to make a community more “walkable” by working with local officials, attending meetings and speaking up about concerns and issues, or helping make the community more attractive and safe with landscaping efforts and safe walking initiatives.

“We hope that those who complete the checklist will share their results with us,” Centner said. “Once problems are identified, we can look at how we can make improvements or corrections. It’s a simple way to work together toward making the community a safer place for all.”

Centner invited people to also call to give walking input and thoughts.

For information on the walking program, contact CATS at 434-5251 or visit catsnh.org.