Michigan has a performance dashboard that gives some very high level indicators which try to convey a sense of whether we’re improving or not.
The indicators are grouped into five main categories: infrastructure, Michigan, education, health and wellness, and talent.
There aren’t any indicators showing how we’re doing with respect to walking or biking, so we suggested two additions to the Mobility section of the Infrastructure dashboard.
For walking, we suggested a count of the number of Michigan cities given a “Very Walkable” rating or better from walkscore. com. Currently no Michigan cities have that rating but Hamtramck is very, very close. Given that no Michigan city is considered very walkable, it doesn’t seem likely they’ll appreciate this suggestion. We wouldn’t be overly disappointed if they lowered the bar so that some cities are counted. That would be better than nothing.
For biking, we suggesteded a count of the number of Bicycle Friendly Communities within the state. Currently that’s 7.
Why not use the number of Complete Street policies? While the Michigan Complete Streets Coalition lists a map with “Complete Street policies”, it really isn’t. It lists communities that have passed ordinances and resolutions, some of which we know have little to no intention of having a Complete Streets policy. And some are co-opting the Complete Streets definition.
Similarly, some communities have “non-motorized plans” which are merely sidewalk or trails plans. What is and what is not a proper non-motorized plan is subjective. And just having a plan doesn’t mean it’s being implemented any time soon.
For these reasons, we think using the third-party evaluations for walking and biking make much more sense.
One more benefit? These evaluations are consistent nationally. If Michigan is to compete with the rest of America, we need to measure ourselves accurately against the other 49.
We’ll let you know if we get any response from the state.