Why did you get involved in Human Powered Delray?
I am an active and frequent pedestrian commuter, and I feel all areas of Delray Beach should be walkable as well as bikeable. As Delray grows, it is more important than ever to ensure that all future development in Delray puts the needs of people first. Delray is a great town to live in and to visit, but if once you get here you cannot walk from point a to point b because of lack of proper sidewalks, we will begin to lose our luster.
Several years ago, as my two sons were moving toward their Eagle Scout ranks, they both picked Eagle Scout projects that included installing bike racks. It really opened our eyes to the need for more bike racks in Delray Beach, as well as for the need to make the city more bikeable and walkable. To help with that, we started a website called “Bike Walk Delray Beach.” Shortly thereafter, we discovered Human Powered Delray and put all our efforts toward the common cause!
Where is your favorite place to walk or ride in Delray Beach?
I walk the park on the west side of Lake Ida every morning with my two dogs – it’s about a 3 mile walk. Its a wonderful park.
What city or project do you consider to be a good pedestrian or cycling model for Delray to learn from or emulate?
When I was young, I lived in Reston Virginia. You could walk anywhere in town without ever crossing a major road – it had tunnels or bridges. Reston has a pathway that follows its own course to the major areas of town. I know that it is impossible to retrofit a city like Delray Beach – that is not a planned community – but I think we should do everything we can do to be the “most walkable town in Florida.” Reston is probably where I developed my love of walking everywhere.
I also lived in Boston and Minneapolis – two cities with much worse weather than Delray. And many more people bike and walk to work and around town there.
HPD is working on several initiatives. What is the most important improvement you think Delray needs to make to its pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure or culture?
I think you hit it on the head when you refer to “culture.” Walking is part of a healthy culture and lifestyle. Simply getting the message out that it is great to walk to lunch from your office, or across town to pick up an ink cartridge at Hands, is important. I know that when I walk more I am happier, which is a big part of the reason that as part of the marketing/education committee at HPD, I developed the brand strategy and positioning of “Bike Walk Smile.” Being healthy by walking and getting out of the car makes me smile! I think it will make you smile as well.
Let’s face it, there is no better way to get to know a town than by walking it. Biking is great, but even biking you fly past so many things so quickly. When you walk, you meet the people of your community, smell the flowers, glimpse small nuances of design in the town’s architectural features – and you smile.