The City of Madison is proud to announce that The Walk Friendly Communities program has awarded the City its Gold Level designation based on the City’s work in prioritizing pedestrians and creating safer, comfortable and inviting places to walk.

Madison is the first city in Wisconsin to earn the Gold level designation and is one of only sixteen cities in the United States to receive that designation.

“We’re very impressed with the City’s approaches to planning and designing streets that promote walking and keep pedestrians safe,” said Dan Gelinne, Program Manager for Walk Friendly Communities. “We think the City of Madison is a model for other cities and towns that want to make getting around on foot a safe, comfortable and convenient transportation option.”

Walk Friendly Communities is a national recognition program developed to encourage cities and towns across the United States to develop and support walking environments with an emphasis on safety, mobility, access and comfort. The designation process considers elements such as pedestrian infrastructure and safety, as well as efforts around equity, planning, education and encouragement. Feedback received as a part of the Walk Friendly Communities application process helps create a roadmap to continue making improvements.

“This gold level designation is thanks to the City’s long commitment to improving the conditions for walking and wouldn’t be possible without the support of our elected officials and city committees and the work of staff in many City agencies,” said Yang Tao, Madison’s City Traffic Engineer. “This year we will be working with more departments to improve streets crossings along Whitney Way, slow motor vehicle traffic through a program called 20 is Plenty and build new connections like the Garver Path.”

The Gold designation comes on the heels of Madison’s commitment to eliminating serious and fatal crashes through its Vision Zero initiative. As a focus of Vision Zero, the City has been improving pedestrian crossings, lowering speed limits, and improving signal timing to make crossing streets easier.

“Even with a gold level designation, there are still many improvements we can make as a city. I’m eager for Madison to join the four cities that have achieved Platinum status,” said Mayor Satya. “To become a Platinum Walk Friendly Community we must ensure that everyone feels safe to walk to school, to work, to shop, to visit a friend or out in our parks for recreation; regardless of who they are or where they live.”

In 2021, the City has a number of projects scheduled that will help move Madison closer to Platinum including new sidewalks on East Dean Ave, LED street lighting upgrades, and continuing to add Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons (RRFBs) at unsignalized intersections. Also this year, the City will begin developing a Complete Green Street Plan to help the City better design and implement streets that are safe, accessible and sustainable.

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