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Hartselle announces walkability audit results

Main Street Alabama released the results from a walkability audit of downtown Hartselle last week, which was completed by various representatives from the community and Main Street Alabama May 29. 

The results include feedback and recommendations.  

Mayor Randy Garrison said the audit served as a valuable tool to get new perspectives and ideas about the downtown area.  

It gives a different perspective having folks come from the outside. You walk through it every day and might not notice things that people from the outside might look at,” Garrison said. “Also, as a group, you have a way to exchange ideas.  

According to the results posted by Main Street Alabama, the audit examined the walkability of downtown through different lenses. Participants tried to consider the connectivity, accessibility, frequency of seating or rest areas, traffic and more.  

Recommendations from the audit include taking note of goat trails,” or walking paths people are naturally using over sidewalks; using tactical urbanism to make crosswalks more visible; including more rear parking; and more.  

Garrison said the city has already moved forward on some of the recommendations prior to the results being released. Several rear parking lots have been resealed recently to provide additional rear parking, and a pocket park has opened in downtown.  

The city is working on plans to connect the pocket park with the farmer’s market. 

“I think it will let traffic move between both places. Especially if there is a path to the farmer’s market, that will encourage people to come downtown,” he said. “If people are downtown, it will be easy to get to the farmer’s market, and it will keep people downtown longer – and that’s what you want to do.” 

The city has also teamed up with Hartselle High classes for help with building signage for the newlypaved parking lots and additional seating.  

“The classes from Hartselle High school are going to make some sandwich signs to make people aware of the parking in the rear. They are also going to be building some benches in the gazebo. They need the experience, and it helps us out as well,” Garrison said.  

Garrison said the city has plans to meet most of the suggestions from the audit. He said he is excited to continue to improve the downtown area.  

“The downtown is one of the first areas people see when they come into town, and we want to continue to improve it and increase walking traffic,” Garrison said.