Bikeability, Walkability Focus of Summit

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Fort Wayne launched a rental bike program earlier this year. Fort Wayne launched a rental bike program earlier this year.
INDIANAPOLIS -

An event focusing on a key quality-of-place consideration continues Wednesday in Indianapolis. The Bike & Walk Summit, which is considered the first Indiana-centered gathering of its kind, involves discussions on best practices and the future of infrastructure. Indianapolis-based Health by Design Executive Director Kim Irwin says local communities "cannot afford not to" invest in walking and biking.

Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski, who will be featured Wednesday on a panel with three other mayors, says walking and biking amenities are part of job attraction and retention efforts. "We all know that when we look at quality-of-life, quality-of-place and those issues and those amenities that we want to have for our communities, having hiking/biking trails with connectivity to parks and schools and neighborhoods really is one of the number one amenities that people are looking for." He says this is especially key for drawing in and keeping the work force of the future "Millennials now and young entrepreneurs many times will choose the community they want to live in and then begin to create their business. So, for us, it's really a quality-of-life issue, it's an economic development issue, its a work force development issue." He says the city has more than 30 miles of paved trail and has continued to be "very aggressive" with a master plan to continue to support connectivity throughout the Tippecanoe County city.

Irwin tells Inside INdiana Business funding is always an obvious challenge when walking and biking-friendly projects are proposed, but the push for more active-transportation options continues to grow. "There certainly are naysayers. Fewer and fewer it seems, but there is a definite need for... political will. We need our elected officials to understand how important this is and when they do, to remain committed." In her experience, Irwin says, "over time, we almost always see naysayers come around at some point."

Wednesday's mayor panel will include Bedford's Shawna Girgis, Thomas McDermott from Hammond, Roswarski and Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler.

Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski, who will be featured Wednesday on a panel with three other mayors, says walking and biking amenities are part of job attraction and retention efforts.
Indianapolis-based Health by Design Executive Director Kim Irwin tells Inside INdiana Business funding is an obvious challenge, but the push for more active-transportation options continues to grow.
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