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This article originally appeared in the AARP Bulletin Today on March 1, 2010.

Can pedestrians, cyclists and automobiles share safe streets?

Cyclists and walkers won a major victory in Lansing last year. After thousands of citizens petitioned for a ballot initiative, the Lansing city council agreed to invest about $400,000 a year to make streets safer for non-motorists.

As a next step, volunteers will conduct walkability surveys to identify areas that need work. Kafantaris said she is looking for volunteers for the Lansing survey and is building a network of activists in other cities. To join the effort, e-mail kkafantaris@aarp.org.

Elsewhere in the state: A group called Safe and Active Genesee for Everyone is pushing for a more accessible transportation network. Traverse City’s new infrastructure strategy emphasizes sidewalks and bike lanes. Marquette narrowed a downtown portion of Wright Street from four lanes to two with a center lane and four-foot bike lanes on both sides.

At the state level, lawmakers approved a 2009-10 budget last year that encourages the Department of Transportation to adopt complete streets policies and assist local governments in doing the same. Supporters hope the legislature will enact stronger legislation this year.

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Wide streets, even with crosswalks and signals, are intimidating to older persons and can make it  hard for seniors to even see the walk signal.  Refuge medians that allow people to cross one direction of traffic at a time make it much easier for slower pedestrians to get around.

Wide streets, even with crosswalks and signals, are intimidating to older persons and can make it hard for seniors to even see the walk signal. Refuge medians that allow people to cross one direction of traffic at a time make it much easier for slower pedestrians to get around.

Report shows need to do more for pedestrians

Many of Michigan’s roads are getting in our way. They lack sidewalks, and too many crosswalks require a daunting six-lane sprint. Bus stops are nothing more than poles in the grass.

Our streets should allow us to safely get to the places we need and want to go, whether work, shopping, school or errands, and they should make it easy for us to stay engaged in social and civic life.


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Michigan Complete Streets Photo Stream

Downtown Dexter is a Walkable Community Photo by Michigan Municipal League Fall 2012

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Walkability and Placemaking in Downtown Ann Arbor Photo by Michigan Municipal League

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Downtown Dexter and Clock Tower Fall 2012 Photo by Michigan Municipal League

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Physical Design and Walkability in Traverse City with Decorative Brick Crosswalk

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