1000 Friends of Wisconsin works with communities on comprehensive planning, which yields Smart Growth dividends such as ways to make neighborhoods more walkable and bikable. (1000 Friends was instrumental in passing Wisconsin’s Comprehensive Planning legislation.)
Peggy “Mumford” Barrett moved from Kansas to her Madison neighborhood in 2003, in order to be closer to her son and daughter-in-law. Peggy’s old neighborhood wasn’t designed for walking; the nearest grocery store was two miles away. Peggy relied on her car whenever she needed to go anywhere outside her yard.
Peggy, 75, moved to a more manageable house (one-third the size of her previous house) in a walker-friendly neighborhood. Best of all, nearly all the services she needs are within a half-mile radius of her home.
Her accessible neighborhood is the main reason Peggy sold her car and now walks everywhere. Those who work at the spots Peggy frequents—grocery stores, the drug store, the bank, the hardware store, coffee shops, and lots of restaurants—know her by name. So do all of her neighbors, who bring her food from their gardens or take her to evening events.
And all that walking has made a huge difference in her health: she lost 35 pounds without changing her diet. She also says she is more flexible and has a lot more energy—which she likens to a “runner’s high.”
Now Peggy says that when she feels down, instead of hopping in the car, she goes for a walk or strolls to a nearby park. “In the grand scheme of sunset living,” said Peggy, “I am blessed with living in this area.”
1000 Friends also advocates developing “Great Neighborhoods,” which connect people to nearby destinations with a network of accessible sidewalks, safe and attractive streets, parks, and public transportation. The changes in Peggy’s life are just one example of what can result from their great work.