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WALK CHESTER Pedestrian Master Plan

“Imagine Chester in 20 years… as a place where people choose to walk — not out of necessity, but because it is a convenient and enjoyable transportation choice.”

The Vision: The Town of Chester will be a place where a connected network of comfortable and convenient pedestrian facilities are provided to people of all ages and abilities; where citizens enjoy walking as a means of transportation and recreation; where increased walkability benefits the local economy; where all residents can easily access healthy food and recreational areas on foot; and where everyone enjoys a high quality of life.

WALK CHESTER Pedestrian Master Plan has been completed and can be used to help this vision be accomplished.

The Walk Chester Pedestrian Plan was shaped by data collected from previous plans and the feedback received during public input. The public input process was crucial for understanding Chester’s primary needs and identifying specific programs, projects, and policies that address those needs.

Through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is leading an effort to increase pedestrian planning efforts throughout South Carolina. The effort is part of the DHEC South Carolina Prevention and Health Across Systems and Environments (SC PHASE) Pedestrian Planning Project. SC PHASE Pedestrian Planning is a 3-year project to develop pedestrian plans for 16 communities in specific counties throughout the state. Beyond the basic tenets of walkability and pedestrian safety, key elements of the program initiative are:• Equity-based planning • Community engagement • Safe pedestrian access to healthy foods

The City of Chester is one of the 16 communities to participate in SC PHASE Pedestrian Planning.

Pedestrian plans and policies play a critical role in fostering more walk-friendly communities by creating the conditions that support and encourage safe walking environments. Such policies can establish a new social norm where walking is seen as practical and appealing for people of all ages and abilities by providing for the infrastructure, programs, and amenities to support healthy choices and active transport. With 25.1 percent of South Carolina adults reporting no leisure time physical activity, and 56.6 percent of high school students reporting not being physically active on five or more days, finding ways to support more walking as an accessible and convenient form of physical activity will be vital to improving the health of South Carolina’s residents.

Cynthia Curtis, the former City of Chester Grants & Community Development Coordinator, during which time she participated in the Walk Chester Plan effort,  and is currently with the J. Marion Sims Foundation as a Community Investment Officer, shared the following insights:

“The walkability audit and subsequent planning effort served as a tool for community engagement involving neighborhoods, elected officials, nonprofits and businesses. In two wards, residents were able to persuade their City Council representatives to “walk the ward,” with them to do a walkability audit. The City ward-wide scope enabled outreach to diverse residents in the Chester radius and raised awareness around healthy living issues affecting all members of the community. The opportunities to collectively process the findings of the audits, develop a proposed walkability plan with the assistance of ALTA Planning, and present the Walk Chester Plan to City Council for adoption was an important community action experience to introduce walkability, access, and interconnectivity to local policy makers.”

To view the full report, click here: WALK CHESTER