For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Eli Cooper, Transportation Program Manager, 734.996.3026 / email@example.com
ANN ARBOR RECEIVED GOLD STATUS FOR LEADERSHIP IN LIVABILITY FROM THE PROMOTING ACTIVE COMMUNITIES (PAC) PROGRAM
ANN ARBOR, Mich., October 30, 2012 — The City of Ann Arbor was recently announced as receiving gold-level recognition as one of 20 Michigan communities that earned an award from the statewide 2012 Promoting Active Communities (PAC) program. Often honored for its vast recreation amenities and extensive parks system — 157 parks spanning 2,088 acres — this PAC award now also acknowledges Ann Arbor’s encouragement of a healthy quality of life by designing places and spaces that support active living for people of all ages and abilities.
Ann Arbor last applied to the PAC program in 2008. Since 2008 Ann Arbor’s scores have improved significantly in all three of the categories considered: Community Policies and Planning (82.9% to 87%), Programming and Promotion (76% to 84.4%), and Current Environment (86.9% to 92.6%). As compared to the average scores from other competing Michigan large communities (>60,000 residents), Ann Arbor’s 2012 scores were approximately 20% higher in each category. The percentage scores represent the points earned in each category over the total possible points for that category.
Since 2008 the City of Ann Arbor has greatly expanded its non-motorized infrastructure with the goals of improving connections around the city and increasing user safety. In the past year alone Ann Arbor has added five miles of bike lanes to city streets, thus increasing the total amount of city bike lanes to 38 miles. The amount of shared use road ways increased to four miles with the recent addition of 0.79 miles. Nearly one mile of shared use paths was added to the off-road system, which brings the total off road system to 59 miles. Also, the city added 490 bicycling and pedestrian signs and road markings throughout the city to raise awareness of non-motorized transportation and to assist in directing urban non-motorized transportation journeys.
Beyond expanding the non-motorized transportation infrastructure, the city has also seen significant improvements in safety for non-motorized transportation users. While experiencing a 16.6% increase in people choosing to get around town without using an automobile and an increasing number of pedestrians and bicyclists, the number of crashes between bikes or pedestrians and vehicles has dropped. Ann Arbor’s 2007 Non-motorized Transportation Plan from 1997 to 1999 reported 55 pedestrian crashes/year and 62 bike crashes/year. From Jan. 1, 2007 to Dec. 31, 2011, Ann Arbor averaged 51.2 pedestrian crashes/year (down 7%) and 54.8 bike crashes/year (down 11.6%). While aspiring to have no crashes occur, Ann Arbor continues to provide the lowest pedestrian/ bike to vehicle crash rate of any comparatively-sized (or larger) city in the state. Please visit www.a2gov.org/WalkBikeDrive and http://a2nonmoto.tumblr.com for additional resources on transportation in Ann Arbor.
There are five possible Promoting Active Communities (PAC) award levels, ranging from copper to platinum, as well as an honorable mention category. To be eligible for an award, a community selects a multi-disciplinary team of local community members to evaluate their community’s environments, policies, and programs that promote and support physical activity. The assessment addresses issues such as community planning, recreation and bicycle facilities, strategies schools and worksites use to encourage physical activity, public transportation, and downtown planning and design. In return, the PAC group provides a community feedback report to help identify barriers to active living and potential assets within the community in order to design a more walkable, bikeable environment. Information from this report can be used to enhance future planning efforts of Ann Arbor and to raise community awareness of the importance of active living. Please contact Eli Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information on the PAC report.
The PAC assessment was completed in partnership with Lt. Renee Bush of the City of Ann Arbor Police Department, Ryan Buck of Washtenaw Area Transportation Study, Erica Briggs of Clean Energy Coalition and Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition, Susan Pollay of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, Judy Franklin of Ann Arbor Public Schools, and Diane Carr of the Ann Arbor YMCA.
Michigan’s PAC program was created in partnership by the Michigan Department of Community Health, the Michigan Fitness Foundation, Michigan State University, and the Prevention Research Center of Michigan. Ann Arbor is part of a growing network of 141 Michigan communities in 57 counties that since 2000 have showed their dedication to create better places to live, work and play by completing the PAC assessment. Any city, township, charter township or village in Michigan can complete the assessment and be eligible for an award. To learn more about the PAC program please visit: www.mihealthtools.org/communities.