Organizers of the annual Green Commute Week are sponsoring a fall event encouraging students to compete in a local School Challenge. Joining communities across the nation, families are encouraged to leave their motor vehicles in the driveway and use active transportation options: walk, bike, ride a bus, or share a ride with others to school.
National Walk-to-School day is October 5, 2016 and the Green Commute Planning committee is challenging Holland-Zeeland area schools to compete against other local schools to see who is the most Green!!
Every student who utilizes active transportation on October 5, 2016 (or an alternative day of the week selected by the school) will count as 1 point and the school that has the highest percentage of participating students will receive an award for the school showing their participation and dedication to promoting a more “Green” community.
The event coincides with Walk-to-School day, promoted by the Michigan Fitness Foundation.
For the latest news about the School Challenge, please check the Green Commute Facebook page, www.facebook.com/MIGreenCommute and Twitter at @MIGreenCommute. SafeRoutes2School resources and helpful classroom activities are also available at http://saferoutesmichigan.org/w2sd.
The MACC is committed to developing a balanced transportation system. That means in addition to a well-maintained, safe and efficient roadway network, we also need a transportation system that has a comprehensive nonmotorized network and robust public transit service. The MACC has historically allocated between $200,000 and $300,000 annually to assist with the development of the area’s nonmotorized network. This year, the MACC allocated $181,000 in funding to help with the construction of a segment of pathway on Fairview Avenue between Main and Washington in the City of Zeeland. The project, located next to two significant employment locations, closed a gap in the city’s nonmotorized network. Next year the MACC is scheduled to expend $400,000 to construct two miles of pathway in Park Township.
Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER) is a visual survey of the condition of the surface of the road. It rates the condition of various types of pavement distress on a scale of 1-10. This system is used by most Michigan road agencies.
The MACC, in partnership with MDOT, the City of Holland, and County Road Commissions, annually rate our area’s Federal-Aid roads. Submitted ratings help identify and prioritize future road resurfacing projects. Each person involved in the rating has had been trained on the PASER rating system and while some agencies are able to test out of yearly training, all MPO’s involved in rating are required to participate in the class every spring.
While out on the road, the vehicle is equipped with a GPS navigational device that connects to our laptop. As the vehicle drives, the segment of road that is being traveled on will be colored red, indicating that is still needs a rating. Once a rating has been determined, a MACC employee then enters the information into the laptop and the segment will turn green.
The amount of time spent rating roads is determined by the overall number of miles within the system and the complexity of those roads. Allegan County has just over 88 miles of federal-aid funded roads and of those roads, many of them are long with very few small segments; this makes rating relatively easy and can be completed usually within a day. Ottawa County however, will on average, take two to three days to complete since there are more miles (around 220) and smaller segments. Besides the roads themselves, weather can play greatly into how long it will take to complete the evaluation since roads have to be completely dry when rating.
Once back in the office, the data that was collected is then imported into a software called RoadSoft. This software is used to evaluate road quality further. Each year, after rating is finished, the MACC reports all data to MDOT and the local units of government.
The Macatawa Watershed Project would like to extend a huge thanks to our many wonderful volunteers from this summer. With our 10 events this summer, including 2 Macatawa River Cleanups, 2 Water Bug collection events, 1 Stream Habitat Assessment event and 5 Road/Stream Crossing inventories, we totaled close to 90 participants! Thank you all so much! It’s your participation that makes the work that much more enjoyable and meaningful! We also want to thank the Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway for continuing to be a key partner on these events and other efforts.