Features & Articles : Three Perfect Days in Silicon Valley
are MPO's Involved in Walking Audits and Walkability?
staff are in the unique position of working with transportation
professionals in numerous township, city, and county government
agencies: they know the opinion leaders, funding gatekeepers, and
community activists who are necessary to change the status quo.
They are also ideally placed to be the catalyst for new ideas and
initiatives that benefit their "member" jurisdictions and can coordinate
the implementation of a project like this. Ultimately, the MPO also
has some influence over funding for transportation projects in a
region and can help to prioritize pedestrian improvements.
Lagerwey and Burden shared their experience working in the Detroit
area with the South East Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG),
where more than 50 walking audits or roadshows have been presented.
"SEMCOG discovered this was an inexpensive program that was hugely
popular with their members and produced both short- and long-term
results," says Lagerwey. "Communities redesigned main streets and
state highways, they initiated traffic calming projects, and built
better sidewalks and crosswalks as a direct outcome of these workshops.
Projects were on the ground after just a couple of years, in some
Dan Burden also notes that, "over time almost every SEMCOG staff
person was assigned to help organize and attend one or more of the
workshops, effectively training the entire staff to be more sensitive
to walking issues."