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Springfield designated ‘Walk Friendly Community’

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The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center has designated Springfield a bronze Walk Friendly Community for its walkability initiatives and programs.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration and FedEx, Walk Friendly Communities is a national recognition program aimed at recognizing communities for their commitment to pedestrian safety.

A walker enjoys the Ozarks Greenways Trail that winds through Springfield.

A walker enjoys the Ozarks Greenways Trail that winds through Springfield.

Springfield has made walkability a priority since the adoption of Vision 20/20 in 1998, with increased investment in sidewalks and trails through the City budget and by the development community, says Pedestrian and Bicycle Engineer David Hutchison, P.E.

“Three-quarters of downtown streets have been upgraded to provide attractive accessible sidewalks with uniform lighting and landscape features. Springfield is improving the walkway network with programs to remove barriers and upgrade and construct sidewalks,” Hutchison says.

“Our development code now requires sidewalks with new building and subdivision construction and we have programs for a trail network and development of continuous walking routes such as The LINK. As a result, key sidewalk gaps are being filled in on our street network and nearly 100 miles of trail have been built in Springfield and Greene County,” he continued.

The Walk Friendly Community designation, awarded from bronze to platinum, is given to applicant communities that have demonstrated a commitment to improving and sustaining walkability and pedestrian safety through comprehensive programs, plans and policies. To date, 57 communities in the U.S. have been designated as Walk Friendly Communities.

For more information about Walk Friendly Communities, please visit walkfriendly.org.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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