"Grab a map and start walking," said Jay Szklut, Belmont's planning and economic development manager, at the conclusion of the public unveiling of .
"This will be a great community asset," said Jenny Fallon, who worked with the town and walkBoston on the project. Belmont is one of only four towns this year receiving grants from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization for walkBoston to produce a community walking map.
Belmont is an ideal community for walking because of its compact size and it has very good sidewalks which allow for a greater degree of personal safety and for people to take children, said Fallon.
One hope of the map, said Anne Paulsen, a longtime walking and bike advocate as both selectman and state representative, is that people will begin to explore the town they live in. She pointed to Harvard University Professor John R. Stilgoe's 1998 book, "Outside Lies Magic," saying that so many things around town – interesting architectural details, lovely gardens, a fuller appreciation for nature – are only seen on a walk.
The Monday evening event held at the Wellington Station site across from the Belmont commuter rail station brought a dozen walking advocates to begin spreading the word about the map that highlights several walks about town, including exploring five Belmont neighborhoods, transversing Belmont's conservation land, circling the town's three squares and a pair of historic walks.
In addition to Belmont travels, the map also provides directions to neighboring towns including walks to Arlington, Watertown and around Fresh Pond in Cambridge.
Paulsen hopes the maps will get into the hands of parents and students and begin a renewal of children walking to school, since 90 percent of all Belmont children live within walking distance to their schools.
The maps can be found in the , the in Town Hall and at the . It and a map of bike tours around the town can be found on the town's home page.
A map is also attached to this webpage.