Decatur is designated as a Silver-level community due to outstanding management of development and parking, top-notch educational and outreach efforts, and progressive evaluation methods. Highlights of Decatur’s application include:
- Numerous outreach efforts and public events that encourage people to walk. These great events include the Walk for Lunch event (walking maps and lunch on event days), the Terrific Thursdays events (free Pedicabs, later store hours, and discounts at businesses), Walk with a Doc, and Car Free Day. Many of these events are organized by the city’s Active Living department.
- Decatur’s approach to parking management, which makes it clear that the city prioritizes walkability. With no minimum parking requirements for the downtown, Decatur is actively pursuing a “park once” strategy, using priced public parking in garages and on-street meters, requiring parking to be under or behind uses, developing shared parking ordinances, and prohibiting drive-thrus.
- Decatur’s crossing guard program is a model for other communities. The city has 27 guards for the elementary, middle, and high schools. Guards are placed at every intersection where a child must cross the roadway on his or her way to school. Police work closely with the Safe Routes to School program to determine sites. Guards are trained by the police department and are also given location-specific instruction and refresher training.
- In crafting the Community Transportation Plan, the city made outstanding use of a number of evaluation tools to project demands and prioritize needs. Latent demand scores estimated the potential future demand for pedestrian facilities while pedestrian level of service indexed the current facilities’ condition. These were combined with a policy and regulatory audit and public feedback from previous plans to develop priorities and goals for the most recent plan. One of plan’s most impressive accomplishments was the rapid Health Impact Assessment.