What is WNY WALKS!..


-A collaborative effort to increase and enable regular, 4 seasons physical activity in order to measurably impact health across the lifespan of WNY youth, adults, and older adults.

-A strategic initiative to facilitate walking and walkability in WNY through Complete Streets Policy,  Workplace Wellness Initiatives, District Wellness Policies, and more.

-Built on NYS Dept. of Health’s Community Best Practice “Walking to Wellness” Initiative and America Walks!



This initiative functions as a strategic response to the Robert Wood Johnson County Health Rankings , which places some WNY Counties as some of the least healthy in NYS:

Out of 62 Counties…

Erie– 56th

Niagara– 58th

Cattaraugus– 60th

Together we can and will do better!

~ Works in support of Live Well WNY, Live Well Erie County, Slow Roll, WinterMission, and more…

Why Walking?

-Walking is a gateway into regular physical activity. Simply walking 30 minutes a day meets the Surgeon General’s Recommendation for adult physical activity.

-Most people already walk thousands of steps a day  without even trying; introducing opportunities to walk can help increase the amount of steps we take every day, month, and year!

-Health benefits from walking are multidimensional: physical, emotional, mental,  social, & more!

What makes a Walkable Community?


  • Safe Sidewalks
  • Traffic Signals 
  • Pedestrian Walkways
  • Bike Lanes, Etc.

Improving walkability means that communities are created or enhanced to make it safe and easy to walk and that pedestrian activity is encouraged for people of all ages and abilities (CDC). 

Want to assess your community walkability? 

The Wellness Institute offers Walkability Assessment Tool Kits, trainings on social capital building, leadership coaching, workplace health promotion, and more!

-Want to start your own neighborhood or workplace walking club? The Wellness Institute can help! Ask for a copy of our Walking Club Toolkit!

 Interested in getting involved in WNY WALKS!

Please visit our homepage, click on contact, and fill out the contact submission form.

We look forward to hearing from you!

WNY WALKS! First Annual Walkability Summit (June 2019) 

As a result of the June 2019 Summit, FOUR exciting new initiatives have surfaced! Inspired by our keynote speakers, Ian Thomas of America Walks and Amanda O’Rourke of 880 Cities, the following initiatives have emerged to promote walking and walkable communities in WNY.

– Grand Island Sunset Striders

WNY WALKS! Speaking Presentation at the AARP NYS Livability Summit

– Partnership between WNY WALKS! and District 7090 Rotary Clubs and Buffalo Niagara Greenway Commission to promote walking/biking/rolling

– First meeting of the WNY WALKS! Community Advocacy Team (CAT) and Publication of WNY WALKS! Strategic Plan and Sponsorship opportunities


Thursday, June 13th and Friday, June 14th men and women from Buffalo and surrounding areas joined us in a two day event focusing on walkability. Our keynote speakers, Ian Thomas and Amanda O’Rourke, gave us great insight on the importance of having a walkable community and how we can achieve it. Stay tuned for a more in depth recap of what we discovered.


“I just wanted to let you know what a great time Michelle, Lauren and I had at the summit on Friday. The activities, networking and information learned was so great and valuable to hear. We really appreciate you including us in this opportunity and I look forward to our continued collaboration together in the future!”
-Katie Kicinski, Adjunct Professor, Health Promotion, Daemen College



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No use permitted without permission

Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo

Phil Haberstro, Executive Director
65 Niagara Square, Room 607
Buffalo, NY  14202

Phone: 716-851-4052