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Walk To Work Day Highlights Stamford’s Shift Away From Car Culture

Courtesy of Pixabay

Stamford, Connecticut, will kick off its first annual Walk to Work Day at the City’s Transportation Center on Friday morning. Urban planners say Stamford is shifting from a suburban driving area to a walkable urban center.

Young people carrying backpacks hustle from the train station over a bright red and white crosswalk. Emily Provonsha says trucks speed off the I-95 exit ramp here, where students and business people walk five lanes across Washington Boulevard.

“This is where a lot of the pedestrian issues come about.”

Provonsha is a transportation planner for the City of Stamford. She says drivers still want to turn while pedestrians still cross the street. That’s one of the growing pains of a place like Stamford that has several university campuses and companies that employ people from across the tri-state area.

“In the past it was a suburban drivable place.”

Provonsha saysa new study released this week by Christopher Leinberger at George Washington University calls Stamford a walkable urban place.

“If you notice on his map he points out Downtown and the South End as emerging walkable urban places. And what we’re finding here in Stamford is seeing is these walkable urban places boost activity and social inclusion.”

Provonsha says that’s great for the real estate market and people’s quality of life. At the event on Friday, she’s asking residents and commuters what they want to improve their walk.

“What we’re gonna try to do is encourage people to walk in a safe way and those that drive, we also want them to remain alert as well, as they’re driving around Stamford.”

City officials will offer pedestrians free snacks, coffee and giveaways at the Downtown train station from 7:30 to 9 on Friday morning.

Cassandra Basler, a former senior editor at WSHU, came to the station by way of Columbia Journalism School in New York City. When she's not reporting on wealth and poverty, she's writing about food and family.