Edina Officials Get Resident Feedback on Health-Related Community Improvements
Residents of some West Metro communities are telling their city officials how to make the communities healthier, and city officials seem to be listening.
The cities of Richfield, Bloomington and Edina are teaming up with Blue-Cross Blue-Shield Minnesota for the do.town health initiative. Do.town Community Organizer Flynn Rico-Johnson describes the project as "a collaborative initiative... really trying to make the healthy choice the easy choice, so creating communities that actually encourage healthy behavior."
In Edina, pedestrians are conducting "walkability audits" assessing how safe streets are for walkers. They fill out forms provided by do.town, then with the help of do.town organizers, they draft letters to city officials relating their assessments.
City officials say the feedback is informing their redesigns of streets and paths. For instance, Edina City Engineer Wayne Houle told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS "In 2013 the city is going to be looking at doing a pedestrian plan for the city. So the information people are compiling with the walking audits will fit really nicely." Houle says the city plans to devote $1 million per year starting next year to make Edina streets more convenient for bikers and pedestrians. He said of residents who share feedback, "they'll be a big role as far as looking at the plan. These are folks out there walking on a daily basis giving input." Planned improvements include bike lanes, sidewalks, and more speed-limit signs.
Similar "walkability audits" are planned for the cities of Bloomington and Richfield.