Monday, August 13, 2012

Alpine Township Officials Learn About Walkability

Dan Burden
Alpine Township officials, board and commission  members, along with county and state employees received somewhat of a treat today as they had the opportunity to spend more than half a day with a world renowned expert on walkability and sidewalk.  Dan Burden is the nation’s most recognized authority on walkability, bicycle & pedestrian programs, street corridor & intersection design, traffic flow & calming, road diets, and other planning elements that affect roadway environments. Dan is also sought after by the health community, promoting neighborhoods, villages, and cities that are designed for more active, interactive and healthy living. He has 37 years of experience in developing, promoting and evaluating alternative transportation facilities, traffic calming practices and sustainable community design.
Alpine Township Planner Sue Thomas responded to an offer made by the Michigan Department of Transportation to have Dan Burden do a community walkability study and Alpine Township was one of seven Michigan communities selected.  Board and Planning Commission members, the Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Parks and Recreation Committee teamed up with representatives of the Kent County Road Commission and the Michigan Department of Transportation to get a close look at the good, the bad and the ugly about walkability and accessibility in the area of Alpine Avenue (M-37) and Lamoreaux Drive.

The group of about 20 persons met at 8:00 a.m. at Art Van's Furniture for orientation and were greeted by store director Pete Renkes with coffee and refreshments.  They then went on a walking tour of the area with Dan Burden pointing out various design flaws and opportunities to make the area more pedestrian friendly.

When finished, the group went back to Art Van Furniture where an early lunch was provided by the store.  At noon, they were joined by other community members for a slide presentation by Dan Burden.  He summarized the lessons learned in the morning and shared success stories from road improvements made in other communities throughout the country.

Special thanks go to Sue Thomas, Dan Burden and Art Van Store Director Pete Renkes for making this event such a pleasant experience.

Art Van Store Director Pete Renkes

Lunch was provided courtesy of Art Van Furniture

Mike O'Malley, Sue Thomas and Dan Burden

The rain was kind enough to hold off

Tim Haagsma, Jean Wahlfield, Bill Schweitzer, Ron Cordes

Dan Burden wrapping it up

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