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three perfect days in silicon valley
: introduction
: the six MPO's
: caltrain service
: what are walking audits
: why MPO's are involved
: what makes for a good walking audit
: what makes for a community walkable
: what happens next

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Features & Articles : Three Perfect Days in Silicon Valley

Why are MPO's Involved in Walking Audits and Walkability?
page 5

MPO 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 cases."

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."

next page, What Makes for a Good Walking Audit >>