Just about every day, Gloria Anderson is on the Pittman Wash Trail walking her dog, chatting with people and enjoying the walkability of Henderson.
The trail, which spans from Legacy Park, 150 Pecos Road, past Arroyo Grande Boulevard, is near her home.
“I like the convenience of it,” Anderson said, “especially when you get away from the road. We are on it about six days a week.”
Anderson is joined by hundreds of residents who run, walk and bike throughout Henderson.
For some residents, walking on the nearly 66 miles of trails or throughout neighborhoods has become a way of life.
The city of Henderson has caught on to this vision.
Tracy Foutz, the assistant director of community development for the city, said Henderson has adopted strategic goals, one of which strives to make sure Henderson remains walkable, both on trails and in neighborhoods.
“Our council members understand the positive aspects of having a walkable community, which is why they set it as part of a strategic goal,” Foutz said. “We are making more connections between places by making sure we have easier access. We believe neighborhoods that encourage walkability make it a more vibrant community.”
Foultz said a common societal issue is that people go into their garages, shut the door and don’t interact with neighbors. When people have opportunities and are encouraged to partake in those opportunities, it adds to the community, Foutz said.
In addition, it helps neighborhood watch programs by allowing residents to interact more with each other.
One of the challenges community development has seen is in pre-existing gated communities that don’t have pedestrian access ways. For new subdivisions and developments, Foutz said, the department is encouraging developers to add pedestrian access routes to trails and other streets in the designs.
The city is also working with the Regional Transportation Commission on a project called Complete Streets, an initiative that promotes all transportation modes to make Southern Nevada more sustainable and encourage people to use transportation other than a car.
Promoting walkability is only one aspect. The city also has to keep up areas so people can walk.
James Fiorentino, the maintenance supervisor for the public works department, responds to any problems that come up on streets and sidewalks.
Fiorentino said there are two ways public works is informed of problems.
“We utilize our street sweepers,” Fiorentino said. “When they go curbside, they have a direct line of sight to the streets.”
If they notice any problems, Fiorentino said, the street sweepers make notes.
The second mechanism is from residents who report problems through Contact Henderson on the city’s website. The website is clients.comcate.com/newrequest.php?id=90, or people can download it as a mobile application.
“This is a tremendous help,” Fiorentino said.
Fiorentino said the department tries to respond within five to seven days.
For the most part, issues reported are not prioritized in any particular order. However, problems that arise in school zones or near senior communities might be an exception. If something needs immediate attention because it could be hazardous, Fiorentino will send people out to paint the problem area bright orange.
“We don’t want people to trip,” Fiorentino said.
One common problem Fiorentino has seen is when sidewalks buckle up because of heat during summer.
“The concrete gets so hot it expands and pushes the panels up,” Fiorentino said. “It makes it look like a tent.”
Other problems include root growth or irrigation systems that have damaged sidewalks and streets.
“Those are the three basic issues we see,” Fiorentino said.
As for trails, the city’s parks and recreation department is responsible for trail maintenance. Kim Becker, a spokeswoman with the department, said the city has a volunteer trail watch program.
“Our volunteers promote safety and appropriate trail use,” Becker said. “They observe and document any safety issues and report back to us.”
The program launched in 2008 and has about 68 volunteers.
Volunteers have submitted more than 2,290 reports, noting anything from lighting repairs to vandalism to help ensure walkability.
Anderson said her only complaint about the trails is about some of the bicyclists.
“A lot of them think they are in the Tour de France,” Anderson said. “I wish there were speed bumps.”
Michelle and Chris Coyle also enjoy the use of trails such as Pittman Wash, which is near their house.
Before moving to Henderson from Las Vegas, Chris Coyle said he was used to miles between houses.
“These trails brighten things up,” Coyle said. “We bring the dogs here every day.”
Becker added that trails aren’t just used for recreational walking and running.
“Many people use the trails to get from place to place such as bicycling from their home to a favorite park or from their home to school,” Becker said.
Becker added that many city employees use the trails to get to work.
For more information on trails, visit cityofhenderson.com/parks.
Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at email@example.com or 702-387-5201.