Believe it or not, the City of Lansing
has more then 700 miles of sidewalk. If that sounds like a lot of narrow pavement to the average citizen, imagine what it all that sidewalk means to city work crews - a whole lot of work.
Last year, the Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council
decided their mission to improve walkability in Lansing was a great reason to give the city a hand.
“The policy for sidewalk replacement is really waiting for a complaint or new construction,” says Mid-MEAC Director Julie Powers. “It’s a resource issue.”
To help the city monitor their sidewalks and identify areas of need, Mid-MEAC decided to start by mapping the entire network. They are now partnering with the AARP to organize volunteers who will walk every sidewalk in the city and chart the condition of each.
“We estimate it will take around 2,000 volunteers hours to get it done,” says Powers. That’s a lot of volunteer time - and they hope to be done by the first winter snowfall of 2011.
With the current value of volunteer time estimated at $20 per hour, Mid-MEAC and the AARP are taking on a $40,000 project exclusively with volunteers. The resulting map will allow the city to address walkability issues before they become complaints.
“The city has been a great help to us as well,” says Powers. “They are donating staff time and technical assistance.”
The walkability project will officially kick-off during the Step Up Greater Lansing event on May 14.
Source: Julie Powers, Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council
Writer: Natalie Burg, News Editor