Make yourself useful on your daily walk

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Smart Phone At the Ready

If you walk a lot, the good, bad, and ugly is always right there in front of you. With Walkscore’s new app, you can start logging it for the world to see.

For the last month, this has been one of my most used apps. The major change from the previous versions is that now you can upload images and add comments tagged to specific locations. Basically, conducting a walking audit of the community when the need, desire, or compulsion strikes. For some of us, that can be quite often.

As a newly appointed planning commissioner, having more feet and eyes on the street is an additional and useful means to check that current and future projects, priorities, budgets, and policies are serving the community well.  I’d love to see more people in the community with access to a smart phone adding their own observations. Currently, as the Traverse City map on Walkscore shows, it looks like I’m the only geek participating. However, I know there are more of you out there!

The interface is easy to use and once you create an account with Walkscore, your additions are automatically posted. You can also save images for later and post them on the computer via your browser where editing previous posts is also possible.

Problems and Gems

It needs to be pointed out that not only is the app useful to show problems, like the 12 inch gap in sidewalk shown at the right (really?), but also for pointing out gems of the community, like a favorite park, trail, or a favorite business. Walkscore actually is running a chance for people to win $500 when they add favorite local businesses between now and December 9th. Have a favorite grocery, book store, coffee shop, bakery, or hardware store? Add it.

Screengrabs of my phone show how easy it is. After you open the app, you have a choice to search what’s nearby or rentals. Tap “What’s Nearby” then tap the “add” button to open the camera. Once you have taken a decent image, follow the user interface to either add a new place (a “gem”, perhaps) or a “New problem spot.” Once there, you can name the location and then select what type of problem you observed. Is it an incomplete sidewalk?  Non-existent sidewalk? Need for better design for people on bikes? Do you simply find it unappealing? Why? The end result is an image with comment added to the Walkscore map of the community.

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Ready to conduct your own ongoing walking audit?

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NOTE: There is an opportunity to join others in walking audit of Lafranier Road tomorrow (Ticker), Wednesday November 28 from 11am to 12pm. If you’d like to participate  the group is meeting in the parking lot of the County Office Building (2650 Lafranier) just before 11am. It is a good time to try out a new app! 

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