Yet another Michigan city has recognized the link between infrastructure and livability, and stepped up it’s commitment to safe infrastructure for walking and biking. Yesterday we heard from Traverse City Mayor Chris Bzdok, who wrote to inform us that the City adopted a new infrastructure policy in September — one that includes an emphasis on complete streets. The policy makes an expressed bias in favor of sidewalk and bikeway construction. See more over at http://www.ci.traverse-city.mi.us/Policy/InfrastructureStrategyPolicy.pdf

In addition to this new infrastructure policy, the City will dedicate 10% of its infrastructure budget to sidewalks, bikeways and other people-friendly infrastructure, the highest known percentage commitment of any municipality in the state of Michigan.

Mayor Bzdok’s commitment to these issues is sincere – he can often be seen riding his bicycle to work and to City Hall. Meanwhile, his administration has additional complete streets-related goals for the City, outlined in full at www.planfortc.com.

We could go on about these goals, but this quote says it best:

“[We desire s]treets that serve not only cars, but also bicycles and pedestrians.  It means bike lanes, sidewalks, and safe places for people to cross our major roads. It means solving the problems on Division Street.  It means re-striping Eighth Street so people can ride their bicycles safely between Boardman and Central neighborhoods.  It means installing or improving pedestrian crossings over US-31 at Fourteenth Street, Eleventh Street, Randolph, Grandview Parkway, Oak Street, Hall Street, Garfield, Eighth Street, and Parsons.  It means providing safe routes to school.

In part, this is an equity issue.  Not everyone has a car, or is in a position to drive.  They deserve a way to get around town, too.  In part, this is a plan for reducing traffic in our city.  If we don’t make it safe and convenient for people to travel on foot or bicycle, how can we ever expect them to get out of their cars?  It’s also about being a desirable city.  The most sought-after places around the country provide for walking and biking throughout their city limits, and residents and visitors in those cities do just that.  It’s time we get with the program.”

Well put, Mayor Bzdok. Thanks for your leadership on these important issues!

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