Dan Burden, a notable long-time friend of the Michigan Municipal League and co-founder of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, has caught the attention of the powers-that-be in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, he was honored with a 2014 White House Champion of Change award for his tireless efforts to make pedestrians and bicyclists an important part of the transportation equation. It is a recognition well deserved.
Danâ€™s dedication is unyielding. His travels take him to communities all over the country for more than 300 days a year. Many of those days have been spent here in Michigan, leading walking audits designed to uncover neighborhood opportunities and find solutions.Â He bringsÂ people togetherÂ from all sectors, engagesÂ themÂ in conversation,Â andÂ inspires them to reimagine the future of their community.
Along with several of my League colleagues, I have had the privilege of accompanying Dan on many of his walking audits. Every community has its own unique assets and challenges, so I learn something new each and every time. With his bright road construction safety vest and measuring tape in hand, he leads a group of stakeholders and local officials up and down sidewalks, through parking lots and alleys, and across busyÂ streets, offering up all the possibilities.Â With his years of experience and knowledgeâ€”and contagiousÂ enthusiasmâ€”evenÂ the naysayers start to believe. Step by step, Dan is truly making our communities more livable and walkable.
Congratulations, Dan!Â We appreciate all the great work you have done and continue to doÂ in Michigan.Â Thank you for being one of Michiganâ€™s greatest cheerleaders.