Indiana Borough designated as Walk Friendly Community
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center has designated Indiana as a Bronze Walk Friendly Community for its walkability initiatives and programs. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration and FedEx, Walk Friendly Communities is a national recognition program aimed at recognizing communities for their commitment to pedestrian safety.
According to the PBIC, Indiana Borough successfully promotes a safe and welcoming environment for walkers. Nearly one third of residents walk to work, with a low number of pedestrian-vehicle crashes and no pedestrian-related fatalities in the past five years. This is done by initiatives such as establishing safe routes to schools and a shade tree program, in addition to having sidewalks and ordinances to keep them clean and maintained. The police department plays an active role through enforcement policies and the use of trained crossing guards at 13 school crosswalks.
The Borough Planning Commission created a Walking and Biking Subcommittee to prepare plans and recommend policies to make the streets safer for walking and biking. Consultants from Aspect have helped the committee develop a vision, goals and a map of a bicycling network that brings the Hoodlebug Trail through the borough and connects the community to the trail, parks, schools and grocery stores.
“This designation, along with the recently awarded Playful City and Tree City designations, brings national recognition to three of the assets that make Indiana a great place to live,” said Jeff Grim, planning commission chairman.
“Projects like the street-scape improvements, North Seventh Street ‘people place,’ and Vinegar Hill steps, Design Day and tree planting at Horace Mann Elementary School, and the Annual Bike to School Day show the community already values a walk-friendly and kid-friendly environment. Feedback from the PBIC will help us continue the good work that is being done.”
In addition, Indiana has a number of community groups working with the goal of making the community a friendlier place for bicyclists and pedestrians. The Indiana Bicycle Coalition, a local group of cyclists affiliated with the League of American Bicyclists, holds group rides and is planning to host a bicycle clinic called Traffic Skills 101 in June.
Welcome to Indiana’s 2013 initiative is to develop the neglected sliver of property at the corner of Wayne and Carter avenues in to an “inviting, functional green space to tie together the community, KCAC, fairgrounds, Mack Park and campus.” Both groups have supported efforts to connect Indiana Borough, the White Township Recreation Center and East Pike Elementary School via a bike trail. In addition, Indiana University of Pennsylvania is coordinating a student-driven process to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety in and around campus.
Indiana is among four communities recognized in the latest round of Walk Friendly Communities. The designation, awarded from bronze to platinum, is given to applicant communities that have demonstrated a commitment to improving and sustaining walkability and pedestrian safety through comprehensive programs, plans and policies. To date, 36 communities in the United States have been designated as Walk Friendly Communities.