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Countywide meeting to address ‘livable streets’

Media contact:

Roger Meissen
Senior Information Specialist
University of Missouri Cooperative Media Group
Phone: 573-884-8696
Email: MeissenR@missouri.edu

Published: Monday, Nov. 1, 2010

Story source:

Wilson Majee, 660-748-3315

PRINCETON, Mo. – In a world full of cars it’s easy to forget that the ability to get around by foot and pedal affects the health and livability of a community.

Livable Streets, a new statewide University of Missouri Extension initiative, hopes to bring about change to roads in urban and rural areas to give people the infrastructure needed to walk, bike and jog safely in their communities.

“Our health is defined by the choices we have, and we are just trying to promote a wider range of healthy opportunities to the communities,” said Wilson Majee, an MU Extension community development specialist for Mercer County. “We completed a countywide survey asking people why they don’t do physical activity or choose healthy foods, and most people showed that they have limited access to places to do these activities.”

That’s where the Livable Streets initiative comes in.

Majee and a network of others throughout Missouri are organizing efforts to plan and redesign streets to make them safe for pedestrians, bicyclists and automobiles.

Majee will hold one of the first public meetings at the Hal England Center in Princeton, which will be open to residents throughout Mercer County. This initial meeting will gauge interest and set the groundwork for possible projects, as well as give an overview of funding opportunities. He expects to meet with community members from Princeton, Mercer and other towns excited about the health benefits that walkable streets could bring.

“Without places to go for physical activity, they don’t have the opportunity to live a healthy life, so we are hoping by putting this concept into practice in rural areas we’ll provide the rural communities with that chance,” Majee said. “Sidewalks are one option, but wider shoulders along roads will allow some people to bike or walk along the streets. We’re hoping we can identify two key destinations—for example, the library and the school—and develop livable streets connecting these destinations.”

The meeting will be held from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 9 at the Hal England Center in Princeton. For more information, call 660-748-3315.

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