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Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh Initiative to Engage Communities with Walkability Project

Building grassroots visibility and advocacy for pedestrian mobility and safety with neighborhood partners



Southwestern Pennsylvania Partnership for Aging (SWPPA) and Lively Pittsburgh, two leading organizations in the Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh initiative, have secured funding from the PA Developmental Disabilities Council to partner with Pittsburgh-based company pathVu to launch The Walkability Project, which supports people of all ages and abilities to create pathways for safer streets in urban neighborhoods.


“Pittsburgh is notorious for aging infrastructure, uneven sidewalks, and increased disparity between economically thriving and distressed neighborhoods,” explains Jason Jablon, Community Projects Leader of Lively Pittsburgh. “The Walkability Project harnesses the power of engaged citizens to advocate for more accessible neighborhoods through innovative technology and creativity.”


In 2015, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto supported SWPPA's application to join the World Health Organization and AARP's Network of Age-Friendly Communities. Since then, with generous funding from the Mary Hillman Jennings Foundation, more than 100 organizations and 800 people shared their voices to create the Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh Action Plan. The plan, which outlines 30 Action Items focused on Access, Connection, and Innovation, will be released later this month for implementation.  joined SWPPA, Lively Pittsburgh, and AARP in kicking off the community-led Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh initiative with the support of the Hillman Family Foundations. Discussions led by over 750 local stakeholders will result in an action plan focused on Access, Connection, and Innovation, and will soon be released for implementation.


"Access to safe, welcoming walkways and streets is a vision of the Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh Action Plan and SWPPA is excited to partner with Lively Pittsburgh and pathVU to implement one of the Plan's 30 Action Items." comments Linda Doman, SWPPA Board President.


The Walkability Project builds upon a successful pilot program in the rapidly changing East Liberty neighborhood, where participants utilized pathVu’s smartphone enabled technology to map the walkability features of key streets, then participated in a pop-up street theater performance called The Crossings. Eric Sinagra, pathVu Co-founder, describes the project as “a tremendous opportunity to apply over 20 years of pathVu’s accessibility research and help residents improve their communities so that all people can travel safely.”


Neighborhood groups and community based organizations interested in supporting resident-led efforts to improve pedestrian accessibility and mobility are encouraged to apply for participation in The Walkability Project by completing the online form by Thursday, September 28 at 11:59 PM. Additional information including the application can be found at


Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh is a collaborative initiative which brings people of all ages together to rethink how our neighborhoods are built and to take action to make them more inclusive and respectful of every generation. For more information please contact Laura Poskin:


Southwestern Pennsylvania Partnership for Aging (SWPPA) is a volunteer-led organization with over 300 members who represent over one million older adults across 10 counties of Southwestern Pennsylvania. For more information contact:


Lively Pittsburgh is a social enterprise which creates a more healthy, active, and connected aging community by empowering innovative solutions, networks, and programs. For more information contact Scott Wolovich:


pathVu is a Pittsburgh based company developing a worldwide sidewalk network through engineering-grade hardware and innovative crowdsourcing tools to ultimately improve happiness, health and safety of every community. For more information contact Eric Sinagra:

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