Non-Motorized Safety

Non-Motorized Safety—It's a Three-Way Street

  By Dave Austin, PE

Over the past several years, Williams & Works has been involved in the planning, design and construction of numerous non-motorized transportation projects including long distance regional pathways, Safe Routes to School sidewalk systems, on-street and separated bike lanes, and hiking trails. The increase in this type of assignment stems, in large part, from the desire of communities to promote a healthier lifestyle and to provide a safe means for people to access community facilities, shopping, schools, and employment in something other than a motorized vehicle. But with increased non-motorized transportation comes a need for public education changing on traffic safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that while overall traffic deaths in the United States has declined 1% since 2016, deaths involving pedestrians and cyclists have increased by 4% and 10% respectively during that same time frame. The web is full of articles representing all sides of the issue, each with a stack of facts supporting that the other guys are responsible for this increase; and you know what? They are all correct.

I drive a car. Including commuting, driving to/from client meetings around the state and non-work trips, about 30,000 miles per year. I walk about 3-4 miles a day and this year was able to log about 2,500 miles on my bicycle. I’m also a civil engineer involved in designing street and non-motorized facilities for communities, so when this topic comes up, I look at it from all three of those angles. For what it’s worth, here is my take on how to decrease pedestrian / cyclist fatalities using a few of my own bad habits as an outline.

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Native Plants for West Michigan Pollinators

Native Plants for West Michigan Pollinators

  By Maleah Rakestraw, ASLA

 

“Save the bees!” is a common mantra chanted by gardeners all across the great state of Michigan. According to Michigan State University’s Michigan Pollinator Initiative, there are over 450 different species of bees in the state. The importance of sustaining bee populations is not lost on the average Michigander, but providing a safe haven and continuous source of food throughout the frost-free months for both bees and other pollinators is an area that can sometimes be overlooked.

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Is Your Community’s Parks and Recreation Plan Up to Date?

Is Your Community’s Parks and Recreation Plan Up to Date?

  By Andy Moore, AICP

Parks and recreation facilities and programs serve a key role in every community and governments at all levels have recognized the importance of recreation to the quality of life and the physical and mental health of their citizens. This recognition has been manifested in the development of National, State, and local park systems that include non-motorized trails, the preservation of natural areas, and the provision of open spaces for both active and passive recreational use.

Recreation planning is an exercise performed by local and state governments to anticipate change, promote needed change, and direct recreational development in a way that benefits the entire community. It has the aim of harmonizing the available recreational resources and activities with the social, environmental, aesthetic, cultural, political, and economic requirements of the jurisdiction. Therefore, every community that seeks to provide recreational opportunities to its residents should be engaged in some level of parks and recreation planning.

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Is Your Community Ready for Recreational Marijuana?

Is Your Community Ready for Recreational Marijuana?

  By Andy Moore, AICP

The possession and use of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over in Michigan was approved by Michigan voters on November 6, 2018 and became effective in December 2018. Known first as Proposal 1 (2018), the new law (the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, abbreviated MRTMA) has several implications for municipalities. The MTRMA allows individuals to possess and use marijuana for recreational purposes, and it also further provides for the establishment of commercial business operations that can grow, process, sell, transport and/or distribute marijuana to consumers.  As with the 2016 Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA), the MRTMA allows municipalities decide whether they will allow these types of “marijuana establishments” within their boundaries.

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