This afternoon at the League's Capital Convention, representatives of the cities of Ferndale, Midland and Mount Pleasant shared experiences from the front lines of efforts to complete their communities' streets. The three cities are in different stages of implementation, showing the diversity of approaches available to Michigan communities under Michigan's Complete Streets legislation.
Ferndale Councilwoman Melanie Piana shared her perspective as an elected official who spearheaded the successful efforts to adopt a Complete Streets ordinance. She stressed the importance of building a support team, educating stakeholder groups and strengthening partnerships. She encouraged local government staff and officials to bike their communities to see first-hand the strengths and weaknesses of the network. Complete Streets policy discussions can be a catalyst to coalesce disparate resolutions, policies and processes already in existence within the local government. Ferndale adopted an ordinance but has not yet created a non-motorized transportation plan.
Keith Baker, Midland's Planning Director, shared a different story about the challenges creating political will for a Complete Streets ordinance. He advocated working incrementally if necessary, starting with a local task force and then building a non-motorized plan. Midland recently adopted a non-binding resolution that is advisory in nature but requires review of all new construction projects.
Jeff Gray and Rich Morrison from Mount Pleasant's Planning and Economic Development departments showcased examples of innovative projects completed in their city to reduce traffic speeds and increase pedestrian safety without a formal Complete Streets policy in place. They also provided recommendations for dealing with the challenges of redeveloping a state trunkline running through a downtown.
The League's Complete Streets page provides example resolutions, policies and other background information.
Luke Forrest is Project Coordinator with the Center for 21st Century Communities. Contact him at 734-669-6323 or email@example.com.
The Michigan Department of Transportation's Bicycle and Pedestrian Program will be visiting select communities this summer and fall to perform walkability audits and/or bike facility development trainings. These trainings will help community leaders, residents and staff understand specific ways to improve local streets, sidewalks and trails to make them more accessible for bikers and walkers. Encouraging non-motorized transportation is a key tenet of the Complete Streets movement and an economic asset identified by the League's Center for 21st Century Communities. If you want your community to host one of these trainings, fill out a brief application by March 26. Extensions may be available if this deadline is impractical. To request an extension or ask questions about the program, contact Cynthia Krupp.
Luke Forrest is Project Coordinator for the Center for 21st Century Communities. Contact him at 734-669-6323 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Center for 21st Century Communities (21c3) values the impact of entrepreneurs on our transition to a new economy. We have many talented, creative entrepreneurs and business leaders here in Michigan already, and there is surely room for more individuals, start-ups and new economy businesses to join the “entrepreneurial revolution.”
As best-selling author Seth Godin says in a video interview featured on Entrepreneur magazine's website; "For 150 years, we lived in an industrial economy. The industrial revolution lead to the industrial. Now it's over. Now there's a revolution going on and the industrial economy is ending," replaced by an "entrepreneurial revolution," he says.
A little while ago, Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan, in partnership with dbusiness magazine and News/Talk 760 WJR, put out a call for nominations identifying “Champions of the New Economy” in Michigan. Five entrepreneurs and business leaders “in metro Detroit who are moving southeast Michigan’s economy forward,” shared their stories with WJR Business Editor Tom Campbell in a series of radio interviews, in early 2010, and dbusiness published an extensive article on “Champions of the New Economy” in May / June 2010, which features additional profiles and interviews with the five men.
Jennifer Eberbach is a professional journalist and writer. Find contact information on her website www.jenthewriter.info