Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ludington, Scottville, Manistee Assessed for Walkability

Dan Burden
Dan Burden of Walkable Communities
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from a story in the Ludington Daily News, July 9, 2009

Ludington and Manistee are Port Cities, and Scottville has been chosen as a Main Street Community. These designations made these communities eligible for analysis by Walkable Communities. Since 1996 Walkable Communities has sought to promote walking as a cornerstone of a successful community.

The organization asserts that "walkable communities put urban environments back on a scale for sustainability of resources (both natural and economic) and lead to more social interaction, physical fitness, and diminished crime and social problems. Walkable communities are more livable communities and lead to whole, happy, healthy lives for the people who live in them."

Tuesday and Wednesday of this past week Dan Burden walked through each of these west Michigan towns, assessed their walkability, and then met with community leaders to share his findings.

For Ludington, he suggested an icon that draws people downtown; a better way for traffic to move from James St. to Ludington Avenue, particularly for trucks; energizing James Street Plaza, better signage, crosswalks and more trees.

Scottville, is in the process of creating a new image for the city through the Main Street program. Burden's ideas have been added to many of those plans. In Scottville he actually had members of the group spend time in a wheelchair, seeing the town from that perspective. He noted a need for more benches in town, proper outslope for sidewalks, and a more pedestrian friendly crossing of the railroad tracks.

Dan Burden is a nationally recognized authority on bicycle and pedestrian facilities and programs. He brings together many disciplines and issues - such as street design, traffic calming, public safety, bicycling, and greenways - into a holistic vision for creating healthy, pedestrian and bicycle-friendly communities.

See Walkable Communities
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