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'Walkability' Audit Uncovers Fresh Ideas to Improve Trenton Walkways

There are two major business districts in Trenton. One is walking friendly and the other could use some work.

Downtown Trenton's walkways received a positive review from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), while walkways within the West Road business district were not so lucky.

A recent at no cost to the city, found Downtown Trenton to have a number of positive attributes including wide sidewalks, angle parking, benches, trash receptacles, and lots of flowers and trees, according to Mary Bohling, an educator at the Michigan State University extension sea grant program, who attended the audit.

The area audited in Downtown Trenton between and can be found on the above map between the two green flags.

The area on the map between the two red flags, along West Road from Fort Street to the , has opportunities for improvement, according to Dan Burden of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute.

Burden performed the "walkability" audit in both areas and found the West Road location to have options for improvement including low cost ideas such as adding greenery, installing way-finding signs and painting of crosswalks.

Burden also suggested local businesses without street-side windows could improve their customer appeal by adding windows or simply painting window-like murals.

"The murals could also be a way to partner with local high school or college classes," Bohling said.

Some other suggestions were a road diet and roundabouts. A road diet occurs anytime a lane is taken out of a road and a roundabout is a circular intersection that slows traffic by directing traffic around an island in the center of the intersection, according to Burden.

Though city administrators do not currently have plans to implement Burden's suggestions, Joann Perna, director of Trenton Parks and Recreation said the audit provided administrators with valuable information.

"The exercise was good for the community and gave us some food for thought," Perna said.

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