By Dana Casadei
Meridian Times staff writer
MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP — At the Oct. 19 Meridian Township Environmental Commission meeting, Tim Potter and Leonard Provencher discussed the Mid-Michigan Active Transportation Coalition and Friends of Meridian Pathways as part of the ongoing Green Thomas presentations, an environmental education speaker series.
Both organizations, and the Environmental Commission, have two important things in common; pollution prevention and promoting a healthy environment, said Provencher.
The coalition started about three years ago and promotes policies, programs and planning which integrate active transportation choices in the Mid-Michigan community, according to the group’s website. The group also tries to encourage walking and biking as alternatives to driving, which includes bike valets at some of the larger events in Meridian.
“One of the main services that we’re providing to the community is valet bike parking, which we’re very proud of,” said Potter. “The valet bike parking concept is to provide short-term bike parking for big events.”
While the Mid-Michigan Active Transportation Coalition works toward encouraging alternative forms of transportation, the Friends of Meridian Pathways helps maintain pathways so people will have more places in the community to take part in walking and biking instead of driving.
“We’re interested in promoting the current pathway system, supporting it and encouraging future pathway development or other potential pathway issues that come up,” said Potter.
One way community members can support the pathway system would be to join the Friends of Meridian Pathways Facebook page, which has online resources, such as SeeClickFix.
With this program, you can report an issue simply by taking a photo of a potentially dangerous area for road users, walkers or bikers and uploading it to the website. It then gets automatically emailed to different road agencies and the people of Meridian Township are notified of the problem.
The Road Commission can come out and fix the problem, which has been done quite rapidly in the past, said Potter.
While the group has done quite a bit of work locally it is now want to take more of a regional approach to educate more people.
“We hope we can be a better resource to not only this township but other townships and cities and agencies and the whole region,” said Potter.
The group also hopes to have continuity from one jurisdiction to the other, said Provencher.
Ways that the group is trying to inform more people is by exploring the idea of putting a dashed line down the middle of a pathway for bikers and putting up more signs up, making all more aware of the pathway that they’re on.
“We’ve got a long way to go but it’s certainly worth pursuing,” said Potter.