Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Merrill REALLY has something going for it

Have you ever heard of WalkScore? It rates an address based on how walkable it is to shops, services, goods, etc. Turns out where we live is one of the most walkable places in the nation. Literally, the very spot where we live is rated as a 94/100; a walkers paradise. Yes, its not perfect; the 51 Truck Stop is listed as being on Main St., and many of the parks are totally unlisted. Still, it is awesome how much is here.

Many places in Merrill proper have a very high WalkScore. Merrill should use this to our advantage - we're a superbly designed neighborhood for really living, not just sleeping at. We should look at where we're concentrating our development dollars, and realize that the heart of the town could be vibrant and a huge asset to maintaining and even growing our community.

More and more people are looking to drive less (with peak oil it'll get even more dramatic -- yeah, I'll write more on that some other time), and Merrill is perfectly suited to take advantage of this. If business owners could extend their hours - until 7 or 8 ideally - people could come home from work and take their time to walk to local businesses and do their shopping.

Of course, I'd like to see Merrill do even more to encourage walking and biking - bike lanes on our major roads, widening the sidewalks and narrowing the streets to make them more pedestrian friendly (and encourage the shop/restaraunt owners to expand their offerings onto the sidewalk... and maybe stay open longer especially on those beautiful summer nights...)

Now if we could just do something about winter. Hmm.

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