FOCUS GROUP SUMMARY

#5 – Connectivity, Walkability, and Recreation

The Vision and Values Connectivity, Walkability, and Recreation Focus Group met virtually on September 20, with 25 participants attending the session. Future iQ introduced the format of discussion for the evening, the purpose being to explore the three questions below as they related to the topics of connectivity, walkability and recreation.

 Participants were randomly assigned to breakout groups of 5-8 and asked to report back to the large group. The following paper synthesizes participant notes and live discussion of these questions; it concludes with some initial insights on the role connectivity, walkability, and recreation may play in planning for the future of Falmouth.

1. What are the key things we are learning about this topic - from the surveys, background information, future trends, and Discussion Board comments?

  • The two themes most discussed were safety and connectivity. There is interest in finding out what other communities are doing to learn more about options for connectivity.
  • As Falmouth is bisected by major roads, we need more bike and walking paths to promote connectivity by non-vehicular means. More bike racks around town are needed. There is a desire to safely connect Route 88 to West Falmouth.
  • There is value in building on the connectivity we currently have and continuing the work being done. Improving the ability of young people to access school by non-vehicular means is important.
  • With respect to recreational facilities, there is interest in a public pool (like Twin Brooks) and it is important to maintain easy access to the ocean.

2. What are the one or two important potential future-splitting decisions or issues facing Falmouth, related to this topic; and, what are the implications and trade-offs of these different future directions?

 *(Definition of a future-splitting decision or issue: Something that represents a fork in the road, where future outcomes are significantly shaped by the decision or direction)

  • Future-splitting themes: Improving connectivity and walkability vs. Cost; Public amenities vs. Cost of Living; Equitable access to water; How to connect and where to connect vs. Cost.
  • An important issue to consider is fairness in accessibility to water, sidewalks, trails, and bike lanes. This sometimes conflicts with concentrating assets and prioritizing things that make economic success.
  • Falmouth needs to connect what we have, find alternatives to pavement, and increase access to the waterfront.
  • Future-splitting: Being audacious v. complacent. There is a need for large strategic goals to achieve what we ultimately want to see (for example our vision for open space.) How will cultural and economic pressures affect where we want to take things and when will it occur? (Example: public transit) What kind of investment is required to achieve what we want? We need to be audacious in our thinking about the future.

3. With regards to this focus group topic, where is the future ‘sweet spot’ for Falmouth?

*(Definition of a sweet spot: An optimal point or combination of factors or qualities)

  • Thinking about converging trends and our aspirations, the sweet spot will be how we get things done and how we articulate an effective method to get things done. This could be in the form of an Advocacy Group to help with transitions. We need to determine the policies we need in place to get us where we want to go.
  • Sweet spot is the cultural changes needed to make infrastructure improvements in Town (trails connecting East and West, sidewalks, electric vehicle infrastructure). Appetite for change will impact where vision meets reality.
  • The sweet spot is in future thinking and what we will need in 20 years. Perceptions have shifted. We need systemic change, especially when we think of climate change. We must meet the needs to attract youth without turning off the older generation.
  • Sweet spot will be how we use our resources and make connections. We need to work together on the audacious goals. The new Wellness Committee could play a role here.

Consultant’s Insights:

  • Communities are on the cusp of seeing a decoupling of the car culture in how we live in Towns. This has taken place with a movement towards electric vehicles and a great desire to connect to nature, especially since the pandemic.
  • It will be important to get the balance right with respect to accessibility and connectivity. What are the elements do you need to have in place to amplify connectivity and usage? 
  • Question for residents: How audacious do you want to be in terms of planning? This is the test going forward. What are the audacious GOALS you want for your community knowing this is all part of accelerations taking place; the cascade into social values including inclusivity and equity – How great is your appetite for change? What is the trajectory and velocity you want to see?
  • The notion of future fabric is something you need to keep in mind when thinking about the trajectory from where you are to where you want to get to. The translation of vision into practical steps will be important for the community to understand.

MORE INFORMATION​

For more information about the Town of Falmouth Vision and Values project, please contact:

David Beurle, CEO
Future iQ
Phone: (612) 757-9190
david@future-iq.com

Skip to toolbar