Rita Morrow and Noa Weiss

By Noa Weiss

Hi, my name is Noa, I am 10 years old and live in the city of Hurstbourne, District 18. I attended Lowe elementary and I’m now a 6th grader at Meyzeek middle school in the MST Program which stands for Math Science Technology. I am also doing Meyzeek Field hockey, orchestra and Cross Country , and in the future, I plan to do Lacrosse, robotics, and track for our school.

This summer, I joined two walk audits led by Emilee McCubbins to see firsthand how easy or difficult it is to get around in a neighborhood safely.  We looked for safe sidewalks, clearly marked crosswalks, clean environments, and community members. Now, let’s get into some examples of the walk audits I have done!

I think that walk audits are important for us to see the complete streets and incomplete streets in Louisville . When we have complete streets, it shows that people can be happy and safe while walking the streets of our city. It is also important to us that people feel safe walking or riding a bike on their streets. When I went to the Churchill Downs walk audit I would NOT count it as a complete street at all. There was a school called Semple Elementary and some of you know if you are within a mile of your school you would have to walk to school. If I had to walk to Semple elementary I would not be happy because the sidewalks were cracked, and not shady, and very rocky, and it felt like walking on a pile of legos. Also, we saw that there was a drugstore right next to the elementary school. Having people walking out of the store drinking and smoking would not set a very good example for kids or make them feel safe but I know that it would make me feel unsafe. That was my example of an uncomplete street.

The second walk audit I went on was downtown Louisville. I definitely would call that a complete street. Although there wasn’t much shade we did see the diversity of the shops there and the people walking around. But we did notice that scooters were lying around everywhere which is not safe because there were no helmets, and you could accidentally trip on them and bicyclers would get seriously injured if they rode over one of the scooters. There were a lot of sidewalks and bicycle lanes the whole way around. That was my example of a complete street.

Thank you so much for listening to my testimony today. These walk audits are a whole lot of fun. I hope I can do more walk audits with our community. I support complete streets because it helps keep people safe and lets them get where they want to go whether that is school, work, or home.  I hope you can help us care about the community together.

By Rita Morrow

Rita Morrow testifying before Louisville Metro Council

My name is Rita Morrow and I am a volunteer with AARP Kentucky and have lived in Louisville since 1980.  I have been a volunteer with AARP since 2009 and believe in the motto “To serve, not be served”.

I am encouraged by the improvements that have been made throughout the city and look forward to seeing those improvements continued. AARP is a non-profit, non-partisan social change organization with over 470,000 members statewide, with over 70,000 who reside in the Louisville area. I am here today behalf of AARP Kentucky to testify in support of updating Louisville’s Complete Streets Ordinance sponsored by Louisville Metro Council President David James.

Simply defined, a “Complete Street” refers to a highway, street or other roadway that is designed and operated to enable safe, comfortable and convenient access for all users – motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit passengers – regardless of age or ability. A Complete Streets policy ensures that transportation planners and engineers consistently plan, design, operate, and maintain the entire roadway with all users in mind.

Louisville needs an updated Complete Streets ordinance because:

  • The streets of our cities and towns are a vital part of the “livability” of our communities, and should therefore be designed for all who need to use them – at any age and any modality.
  • Today, one in three Americans are age 50 or older. By 2030, one of every five persons in the United States will be 65 or older. Transportation priorities need to be ready now to accommodate mobility needs and safety requirements for a growing number of older Kentuckians.
  • One Complete Street may look quite different than the next, but having a policy in place will ensure that new or reconstructed streets in neighborhoods across Louisville will be designed to balance safety and convenience for everyone likely to use the road, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation.
  • In sum, by using the most up-to-date guidelines and best practices, local transportation planners and engineers will be able to design and build safe and well-planned streets based on what is best for our community.

This is why AARP is working with not only the Complete Streets for Louisville Coalition but also Age Friendly Louisville to ensure our community is livable and accessible for residents at any age. If a community is fit for an 80 year old, it will be fit for an 8 year old.