8 80 Cities looking to make Tallahassee more accessible for everyone

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By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness New
October 1, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Tallahassee and Leon County are working to create more vibrant public spaces for residents.

To help do so, the local governments are calling in some experts.

Internationally known nonprofit 8 80 Cities will be leading workshops and community discussions throughout the city all week. The agency believes that great spaces can be created by following the 8 and 80 rule.

"Everything, the sidewalk, the crosswalk, the school, the library, the restaurants, the parks, everything has to be great for an eight year old and an 80 year old," said Gil Penalosa, founder of 8 80 Cities. "Because if it's good for the eight and it's good for the 80, it's going to be good for everybody."

Penalosa has taken this concept all over the world, helping cities from Toronto, Long Beach, Portland and more.

"We need to stop building cities as if everybody was 30 years old and athletic," he said.

After touring Tallahassee, Penalosa identified Cascades Park and Gaines Street as two spaces that fit his 8 80 rule. However, he said there are a lot of places for improvement, including various bike lanes.

"I saw some of the bike ways had only a painted line. And then you've got to start thinking, would I send an 8 year old? Would I send and 80? And if you would not, don't even call it a bike way. It is nothing," he said.

Penalosa and his team put a big emphasis on improving walkability and bikeability. And said the ability to do so safely improves the environment, personal health, as well as the financial strain on residents. All of which, he said leads to a happier community.

Over the next week, 8 80 Cities will be holding various workshops throughout the community including the library lecture, "Lessons from Bogota and Beyond," Monday at 7 p.m. at Fifth and Thomas; as well as the session Creating Great Places for Orange Avenue on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Bethel AME Church.

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