Why they stand out
The City of Verona is known for recreation opportunities and sports enthusiasm; it’s on the Iron Man cycling route and has several large youth sports facilities. Walk around town and you’re likely to find plenty of people walking, running, and biking. Just as importantly, the city’s policies are putting routine physical activity within reach of all residents, not just the already-active. For example, Verona has a network of parks and trails that connect neighborhoods within the City, while the regional Military Ridge State Trail also links residents and commuters to neighboring cities. Elementary schools are located in walkable neighborhoods, and the City employs crossing guards to bolster safety and encourage families to walk and bike to school. Verona recently reconstructed its downtown Main Street using design principles that safely accommodate all modes of transportation.
After a major employer, Epic Systems, chose to locate in Verona, local stakeholders realized the need to be proactive in expanding infrastructure to include more walking, biking and park access, so that growth would lead to more opportunities for both transportation and recreation. Verona completed a Bicycle and Pedestrian Study in July of 2016, and has been able to implement nearly half of recommended improvement projects by 2018, including three miles of bike lanes and rectangular rapid flash beacon signals at major trail crossings and intersections in the City. Additionally, the City requires sidewalks on both sides of the road for all new subdivisions and includes walk/bike facilities when completing large roadway projects. There are limited service bus transportation for citizens and Epic employees in the region, and several bike connections to the Epic campus, helping to reduce the number of cars coming in every day.
There is strong buy-in and collaboration on Verona’s vision for an active community within the City’s departments, among partners like the Ice Age Trail Alliance, and local employers. Elected officials also demonstrate Verona’s commitment by including bicycle and pedestrian improvements in the capital budget, which continues to advance infrastructure projects that make walking and biking safer. Verona’s collaborative leadership positions the city to continue its progress in the future. We can’t wait to see what’s in store next!
Approach to Equity
In Verona, the more affordable areas tend to be located in the City center, which is among the more walk-friendly areas in the community, helping to provide a walkable community for individuals with lower or moderate income. The City has set a goal that everyone has access to a nearby park, which is reflected in the newly developed outdoor recreation plan. In addition, there is new interest within Verona to consider affordable housing policies that could expand access to the city’s active settings and high quality of life to more residents.