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Many aging so communities must be livable

AARP expert to be keynoter at forum in Kahului Tuesday

July 5, 2009
The Maui News

KAHULUI - Jana Lynott, a livable communities expert with AARP, will keynote Tuesday's community forum on "Creating Livable Communities for an Aging Population." The free forum will be held in the Maui Beach Hotel elleair room from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Lynott, who joined AARP in 2007, is the main author of the AARP report "Planning Complete Streets for an Aging America," which warned that two-thirds of American transportation planners and engineers have yet to begin addressing the needs of older people in their community planning.

The report recommends that federal, state and local highway and street design guidelines serve older people by:

Article Photos

Sgt. Barry Aoki

* Reducing vehicle speeds at intersections where older drivers and pedestrians need more time to make decisions and execute changes.

* Making the physical layout of roads, crosswalks and sidewalks easier to navigate.

* Making it easier for older drivers and pedestrians to notice, read, understand and respond to visual cues and information.

In her role as strategic policy adviser for transportation and livable communities with AARP's Public Policy Institute, Lynott provides technical assistance to AARP state offices and to government relations and media departments, and is responsible for developing the content of the Livable Communities chapter of the AARP Policy Book.

AARP defines a "livable community" as one that offers affordable and appropriate housing, supportive community features and services, and adequate mobility options. These community elements help people maintain personal independence and remain engaged in civic and social life.

This could include visible traffic signs, handrails, one-story living, no-step entries and bus stops with benches.

Tuesday's forum will focus on streets and housing accessibility, noting that in two years, the baby-boom generation will begin turning 65. In less than two decades, the number of Hawaii residents 65 and older will nearly double.

A local panel at the forum will include:

* Sgt. Barry Aoki of the Maui Police Department Traffic Section, who will discuss pedestrian safety.

* Kathleen Ross Aoki, county deputy planning director, who will give an update on the Maui Island General Plan.

* Deborah Arendale, executive on aging with the Maui County Office on Aging, who will address the unique needs of Maui kupuna.

* Rita Barreras, project director with the Aging With Aloha Coalition, who will detail needs of the elderly identified by members of her group.

AARP Hawai'i and the Maui County Nutrition & Physical Activity Coalition are co-sponsoring the forum. To register, call 244-2082 or e-mail cgarcia@aarp.org

For more information about the coalition, call 264-7895 or e-mail smcguinn@hawaii.edu

 
 
 

 

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