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Walkability’ study may generate ideas to boost city vitality

Trenton has been chosen to be one of a handful of communities statewide to participate in a “walkability audit,” part of a Michigan Department of Transportation’s program to evaluate accessibility for bicycles and pedestrians

Trenton, MI
Trenton, MI
Aug. 1, 2012 - PRLog -- According to M-DOT officials, the audit is a hands-on evaluation of the walking conditions within a particular portion of the community, followed by a general yet customized presentation and discussion of improvements that the community can consider for improving walkability in a specified area.
Trenton was the only suburban Detroit city selected to participate in the program. The audit is slated for Aug. 16.
M-DOT spokeswoman Cynthia Krupp said these initiatives are meant to help spur the economy by growing strong, vibrant and healthy communities, and walkability audits can assist in this effort.

The agency has identified walkability as “a cornerstone and key to an urban area’s vitality.”
The belief is that a walkable community becomes a more desirable place to live for a number of reasons, including greater opportunities for social interaction and physical fitness. The spinoff effect of those conditions are aesthetic improvements and an improved business environment, resulting in more eyes on the street and reduced crime — in addition to the positive economic impacts.
The development of a walkable community, Krupp said, also provides the most affordable transportation system any community can plan, construct and maintain.
Dan Burden founder of Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, (www.walklive.org) has been retained to perform the walkable audits. Burden is a nationally recognized authority on bicycle and pedestrian facilities with more than 25 years of expertise in promoting and evaluating alternative transportation facilities, traffic-calming practices, and sustainable community design.
To maximize the benefits of this opportunity, MDOT will require that the community take an active lead in planning and coordinating the audit. A team of interested community members including Mary Bohling (Michigan Sea Grant), Sandy Mull (Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber), Mark Slagle (Trenton Downtown Development Authority chairman), Kathy Kane (Trenton Business Association), Brian Pollack (SEMCOG), and M-DOT’s Krupp (who will coordinate the walk).
This idea was pursued by Bohling, Mull and Kane, who sit on the SWCRC Greening Committee. The group plans to provide the results of this audit at a future Downriver Summit.  
Only six other communities were chosen for this unique opportunity: Paw Paw, Alpine Township, Wyoming, Meridian Township, Gaylord and Detroit.
“It’s really kind of a coup for Trenton to be included in this program, which is a credit to Mary, Sandy and Kathy for seeing the value,” said Joe Hoshaw, president of the Trenton Business Association. “But, by sharing those results at the Downriver Summit later this year, many of our neighboring community also will have a chance to benefit from what we learn.”
The group is compiling an invitation list for interested parties to take part in the walk and follow-up presentation on Aug. 16.    Contact Kane at kane@marketinsights.us by Aug. 5 if you would like to attend.

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