By Madison Nalbach
With the growth and expansion of downtown Youngstown and Youngstown State University’s campus, Walk Youngstown signs were created and posted throughout the area to encourage people to walk and experience the sites of the city.
The Walk Youngstown Campaign drives the initiative of walking to and from local attractions instead of driving and creating more traffic.
Signs are hung on street poles throughout YSU’s campus, downtown Youngstown and the north side of Youngstown, informing pedestrians how far nearby attractions are.
The Walk Youngstown signs help direct community members and YSU students to nearby stores, entertainment venues, parks and recreational sites, museums and banks.
Lisa Resnick, founder of the Walk Youngstown Campaign, is a Youngstown native and noticed the lack of pedestrian traffic in the area.
Resnick said she sought a way to bring life to the community and make the people a part of it.
“After discovering walkyourcity.org, I conducted more research and thought of different ways this will be beneficial for the Youngstown community,” she said. “Especially with having a college campus in the city, it seemed like the perfect idea for the area.”
Sarah Lowry, director of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley’s Healthy Community Partnership, said the signs are a nice way for residents and students to become more active and connect with others.
“It’s good for people to get out and to experience the community,” she said. “Find places they might not have known before and connect with other people on the street.”
According to Lowry, people can experience other aspects of the area when they walk to and from destinations.
“You see a better connection between the north side of the city, the university and downtown and even moving out into the different neighborhoods,” she said.
Cherish Kelsh, a sophomore hospitality management major, said she has become more aware of her surroundings with the new signs and it’s a different way to find new places.
“I think people will be more aware of what is in downtown Youngstown because I didn’t know everything Youngstown had to offer and how much there is to do and see,” Kelsh said.
Other cities, such as Detroit, have created signs for the community to showcase different locations and how many minutes it would take to walk to them.
“I would love to see Warren implement this, Canfield, Poland, Austintown and Boardman. I would love to see it locally expand and grow to the tri-counties that we have over here,” Resnick said.
She said the campaign may implement “Walking Wednesdays,” where people from the Youngstown area meet at different locations one Wednesday a month and walk to various attractions across the city.
According to Resnick, this could make people realize they can walk to a location in a shorter time than it would take to find parking in the city.