The city of Eugene has been designated as a gold-level “Walk Friendly Community” for its walkability initiatives and programs.
The national Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center announced the prestigious recognition today from its headquarters at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
“We are excited to designate Eugene as a Walk Friendly Community,” said WFC program manager Carl Sundstrom. ”The clear support from elected officials for creating 20-minute neighborhoods, the level of sophistication in the planning documents and code requirements of the city, the public transportation options and the extensive trail network were quite impressive achievements. Eugene is a model for communities across the United States.”
Eugene is among four communities recognized in the latest round of Walk Friendly Communities announced. To date, 24 communities in the U.S. have been designated, eight of them at the gold level. In Oregon, Corvallis has earned gold- and Wilsonville has earned bronze-level recognition.
Other reasons cited in Eugene’s recognition: the 2011 Pedestrian Safety Summit; the number of accessibility features such as crossings, ramps and signals; 42 miles of paths and five footbridges in Eugene’s trail system; and successful events such as the Business Commute Challenge, the SmartTrips program, and Sunday Streets that promote health benefits and the fact that walking is good for business.
“Not only did we receive this great honor, but we also got some excellent suggestions on things we could do better,” said Lee Shoemaker, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator. Among those ideas: create a special focus group to bring engineering, planning, transit and enforcement staff together; increase the number of sidewalks in the city; emphasize pedestrian connectivity between destinations; reduce the number of accidents involving pedestrians, and strive to increase the number of people who choose to walk for business and pleasure.