Portland, Oregon is up in arms since being recently edged out by Minneapolis as the number one bike-friendly city in the country, named by Bicycling Magazine. Portland is left scratching its head wondering how a cold snowy city could possibly take an honor that so rightfully belongs to them!
Hah! Well, move over, Minneapolis and Portland, you might lose out to Detroit some day. That’s right, you heard me. Detroit is in the process of putting 30 miles of bicycle lanes on its streets. And that’s just the beginning. Ultimately, the city is talking about 400 miles of bike lanes! This is all part of a larger greenways effort already well underway. When we talk about developing transportation as it relates to our Center for 21st Century Communities, we’re not just talking about high speed transit, but non-motorized transportation as well. This is a great example of giving people options to get around without having to rely on a car and another great initiative by the city of Detroit. Read the full article here.
(Note: Congratulations to Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids for ranking 14th and 36th respectively, (out of 50) as bike-friendly cities!)
Colleen Layton is Director of Policy Develpment for the Michigan Municipal League. She can be reached at 734-669-6320 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Active communities are vibrant communities. You can help turn your community into a more active, livable, economically viable community by participating in the Promoting Active Communities (PAC) program. Increased opportunities for physical activity can provide improved air quality, higher real estate values and better public health. This program consists of a free online assessment tool designed to help communities evaluate local policies, programs, and environments and identify ways to promote and support physical activity. The PAC also consists of an awards system that recognizes communities for using innovative strategies to design active living environments. You can learn more and become an active living advocate in your hometown by visiting the PAC Web site at: www.mihealthtools.org/communities. Having healthy, walkable communities is also one of the goals in the Michigan Municipal League’s Center for 21st Century Communities program. Read more about that here.
Colleen Layton is a director with the Michigan Municipal League. She can be reached at (734) 669-6320 or at email@example.com.
Yesterday was a “snow” day, with most schools closed and many people hunkered down in their homes, but for me and some of my colleagues, it was a day to put on the long underwear along with the hiking boots, and venture out to Lathrup Village. As part of our Center for 21st Century Communities program, Lathrup Village was chosen as one of our 5 pilot communities to focus on one of the 8 assets where they would like to see improvement. They chose walkability and design. Like too many communities, Lathrup Village finds that a major roadway is both a benefit and a challenge. Southfield Road, a 5 lane thoroughfare, is viewed by many to split the community - an impediment to walkability. Their vision is to create a Center City, and literally transform their town into a more vibrant, walkable community. So we invited Dan Burden, a world-renown walkability expert, to visit Michigan this week. (In addition to Lathrup Village, he also conducted a walkable audit in Linden on Monday and Lapeer on Tuesday.) Dan, who never lets a little snow, wind and cold stand in his way, led a group of enthusiastic community stakeholders, including a representative from the County Road Commission and the city’s planning consultant, on a tour to assess what needs to be done to make it a more pedestrian friendly community that will create new businesses and allow for more connectivity among the residents. We trekked up and down Southfield Road, while Dan measured sidewalks, risked his life standing in the middle of an intersection to illustrate a point, and highlighted the good, bad and the ugly. After thawing out and a warm lunch, Dan integrated photos from the tour into a PowerPoint, presenting his thoughts and ideas on what would make the city’s vision become a reality. Today, a more detailed follow-up session is taking place between Dan and the stakeholders. Stay tuned for future updates as Lathrup Village makes the journey towards a 21st century community!
- Register for Burden's workshop, Friday, Feb.12 in Lansing.
- Facebook photos of Burden’s Lathrup Village visit.
- Facebook photos of Burden’s Lapeer visit.
- Flickr photos of Burden’s Linden visit.
Colleen Layton is director of policy development for the Michigan Municipal League. She can be reached at 734.669.6320 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve been haranguing a lot these past couple of years on the importance of arts and culture and the role they play in making a community vibrant and sustainable. The arts should be front and center to any long term economic development plan. Unfortunately, it’s often the first thing that is cut. Not only does it not make good economic sense, a community or region loses out on the opportunities of civic engagement and social connections that revolve around the arts. There is now a National Arts Index, put out by the Americans for the Arts organization, that measures the health of the arts from 1998 – 2008, using 76 national-level indicators of arts and culture activity. The plan is to update this report every October. Hopefully, this new tool will stimulate conversation on the importance of the arts to our economy and help influence policy. Click here to download the report: www.AmericansForTheArts.org/go/ArtsIndex.