Worcester has an overall Walk Score of 54, according to WalkScore.com, a website that scores cities across the country on how easy it is to accomplish basic daily errands on foot. It has a Transit Score of 35, which is, by all accounts a pretty terrible score for a city of our size. We don’t even rate a Bike Score. In comparison to other major cities in New England, we have a ways to go.
But we are working on it. Part of the work includes making downtown Worcester more walkable and bike-friendly. As the Worcester Redevelopment Authority moves forward with its Urban Revitalization Plan, it’s extremely important for people who care about a healthy city to get engaged and stay engaged with the process. It may seem boring to go sit in a stuffy room and listen to a bunch of folks in suits talk about streetscapes and ground level frontage and eminent domain, but it’s one of the most important ways to make your voice heard. If we don’t get out there and talk about what’s important to Worcester’s neighborhoods and residents, the folks who make the decisions will be listening to a room full of people who think improving food access means allowing food trucks to sell on Worcester Common.
You can read what the WRA has in mind for downtown Worcester on the city website, and view the final draft of the urban revitalization plan at the link. The City Council will be reviewing the plan sometime in the next few weeks, and if they approve it, it moves on to the next level and comes that much closer to being cemented in stone. We’re keeping an eye on the process because the shape of downtown can make Worcester a healthier, happier place for all of us – or lock us into decades of recovering from a plan that doesn’t take the needs of the entire city into account. Like our Worcester Food Policy Council Facebook page to stay updated on what’s going on and how you can help push a vision of downtown Worcester that makes sense for our community.