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