Saranac Lake’s walkability is recognized

Brandon Rolley, left, Leanna Thompson, right, and Emelia Rolley, stroller, of Saranac Lake take an afternoon stroll down Broadway in Saranac Lake. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

SARANAC LAKE — The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center has designated Saranac Lake a silver-level Walk Friendly Community for its walkability initiatives and programs, the village Community Development Department announced Monday.

Sponsored by FedEx, Walk Friendly Communities is a national program, and Saranac Lake is among 10 communities recognized in the latest round. The Walk Friendly Community designation, awarded from bronze to platinum, is given to applicant communities that have demonstrated commitment to improving and sustaining walkability and pedestrian safety through comprehensive programs, plans and policies. To date, 71 communities in the U.S. have been designated as Walk Friendly Communities.

Highlights of Saranac Lake’s application include the following:

¯ The steps the village has taken to implement the Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail Plan, which included inventories, programs, priority projects, design guidance and a plan for implementation. Their annual progress reports can serve as a model for other communities.

¯ A Complete Streets policy and new Development Code adopted in 2016 along with a program for implementation. The Development Code includes parking maximums, good parking location requirements, connectivity requirements, density bonuses and architectural design standards.

Village Superintendent of Public Works Jeff Dora, Community Development Coordinator Jamie Konkowski, Andrea Audi of the village’s Parks and Trails Advisory Board, and Mayor Clyde Rabideau with the silver-level Walk Friendly Community designation for Saranac Lake. (Enterprise photo — Glynis Hart)

¯ Clear, ongoing commitment to Safe Routes to School at Petrova Elementary. The village uses walk audits to teach students about pedestrian safety and the built environment while identifying opportunities to improve the area around the school. Petrova Elementary kicked off its fifth annual Walk & Bike to School Month on May 7.

¯ An active Parks and Trails Advisory Board, which serves as the mechanism by which pedestrians are considered in all projects and documents.

“We typically don’t see this level of commitment to walkability and pedestrian safety from a small village or town. Most of our silver-level communities are large cities, so we’re thrilled to showcase Saranac Lake as an example of a small community doing great things for pedestrians,” said Dan Gelinne, program manager of Walk Friendly Communities. “Saranac Lake is using progressive plans and policies to support pedestrian-friendly changes to its streets, and we think other communities can learn a great deal from their approach to improving walkability.”