DETROIT, Michigan - Wednesday, October 20, the Michigan Association of Planning (MAP) recognized two League members for their outstanding planning efforts to promote assets such as excellent physical design, multimodal transportation options and environmental sustainability. The Village of Onekema was honored with the Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan for its joint master plan with Onekema Township. This plan, which is connected to the establishment of a joint planning commission and shared ordinance, includes goals related to downtown walkability, quality schools and natural resource conservation. MAP cited the effort for its "originality and innovation" and for its value as a "model for collaboration". Auburn Hills' Riverwalk Master Plan was recognized as an Outstanding Planning Project for Best Practice. The City developed this Plan, which communicates a vision for a riverfront park system linked to regional trails and downtown, through a public process that MAP cited as "open, inclusionary, interactive". The Master Plan includes a detailed resource guide for sustainable design and water conservation.
Congratulations to the City of Auburn Hills and the Village of Onekema for your outstanding planning vision and hard work.
Luke Forrest is project coordinator for the Michigan Municipal League's Center for 21st Century Communities. He can be reached at 734-669-6323 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A new study by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) reports on the "Economic and Community Benefits of Local Bus Transit Service (Phase Two)." The statewide analysis concludes that public transit "saves money for riders," "alleviates traffic congestion," "expands mobility," "stimulates the economy," and "protects the environment," according to the report. Leaders of ongoing public transit improvement initiatives throughout Michigan can use the study's findings to advocate for their projects and argue the "economic and community benefits" of public transit systems - a good point that Grand Rapids Press writer Kyla King brings up in her recent article, entitled "Study shows every 10 public transit jobs creates six more jobs in Michigan economy."
King takes a look at what this equation means for Grand Rapids. "That translates to 523 people directly employed by The Rapid and 206 spin-off jobs. The study shows The Rapid creates $43 million in "social benefits" - the money saved by riders that they then spent on other things - in addition to the $31 million spent to operate the system," she reports. She also concludes that MDOT's study "could be key as The Rapid system looks to fulfill a 20-year improvement plan that will bring streetcars, speedy high-tech buses and routes that run more often until midnight and on Sundays," King writes.
Beyond creating jobs, the also study reports; "It is estimated that transit operations sustained more than 9,200 jobs and contributed about $1.08 billion in economic output in Michigan in 2008. Moreover, the re-spending of a portion of out-of-pocket cost savings by transit riders added $264.4 million to the Michigan economy."
Jennifer Eberbach is a professional journalist and writer. Find contact information on her website www.jenthewriter.info