Educating and empowering young green advocates

To be successful, it is critical that bike and trail advocates have a diverse voice.

That’s one reason we remind others that efforts like Complete Streets are not just about Lycra-clad cyclists.

For example, the AARP is one of the major advocates for Complete Streets. Why?

In a poll conducted for the AARP study, 40 percent of adults age 50 and over said the sidewalks in their neighborhoods are inadequate. Nearly 50 percent reported they cannot cross main roads close to their home safely, yet half of them would walk, bicycle or take a bus more often if the problems were fixed.

Mobility activists assert that the best way to address these problems is with “complete streets” policies, which allow pedestrians, bicyclists and those who use public transportation to share the road safely and comfortably with automobiles.

And at the other end of the age spectrum, MTGA recently led guided tours of the Dequindre Cut and Detroit RiverWalk to Councilmember Cockrel’s Green Task Force Youth Committee and the Great Lakes  Bioneers Detroit.

Building an interest in trails for these younger groups is clearly important, as is making the connection between walking, biking and being green.

But it’s also key that we encourage their active participation in programming and advocacy. They are a key stakeholder.

The more they can be involved in these efforts now, the more likely they will continue making Detroit more walkable, bikeable, and green.

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