Elected Officials

Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets Webinar

On May 22, 2015 America Walks held the webinar, “Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets.”  This webinar is part of the “Take Action at the Local Level” webinar series that calls upon individuals to build community and institutional support for walkable design.

Barbara McCann, former Executive Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, and now Director of Safety, Energy, and Environment in Secretary Foxx’s office led off with an overview of the DOT’s Action Plan and the Mayor’s Challenge. After summarizing the recent rise both in walking and bicycling for transportation, and in pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities, Barbara described the seven strategies that are being implemented by more than 200 participating mayors: enacting Complete Streets policies, addressing safety barriers for people of all ages and abilities, gathering and tracking biking and walking data, using context-appropriate designs, creating complete ped-bike networks, strengthening safety laws, and enforcing proper road use.

After that introduction, we heard from the mayors of four very different types of cities in the upper mid-west, the south, and the mountain west. Mayor Zachary Vruwink of Wisconsin Rapids, WI discussed how pedestrian safety and access are supporting his community’s recovery from decades of economic decline. Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton, Jr.’s Bikeway and Pedestrian Program Manager Kyle Wagenschutz described how Memphis is using the Mayors’ Challenge as a springboard to promote health and physical activity in a sprawling southern metropolis of two-thirds of a million. Although Memphis’ near neighbor, the City of Hernando, MS, has a population of just 15,000, Mayor Chip Johnson has made a name for himself by promoting walkable, bikeable communities and is the newest member of the America Walks Board of Directors. Finally, National League of Cities President and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker explained why alternative transportation is a priority for his administration and his mountain city.

 Additional Resources
Panelist Presentations
Resources Referenced Throughout Webinar