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Forest Park is a walkable town, and the world is starting to take note.

Last week, the village was awarded a bronze designation as a “Walk-friendly Community” (WFC) by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and FedEx.

Thanks to grant money brought in by Live Healthy Forest Park, the village has a brand new focus on walkable streetscapes, improved bike signage, and a “safe routes to school” initiative. Add two el lines and easy access to Interstate 290 and that makes the town friendly to pedestrians and bikers, earning Forest Park the award.

“This award is a boon for us and validates our push over the past few construction seasons for better and more complete streetscapes,” said Mayor Anthony Calderone in a press release.

“We were impressed with Forest Park’s adoption of the Complete Streets Policy Resolution [and] with the mayor’s support.” said Carl Sundstrom, WFC program manager. “The comprehensive network of sidewalks, and the Safe Routes to School Program, which illustrate the commitment and dedication for creating walkable places, serve as a model for communities across the U.S.”

Two towns in Oregon, Eugene and Corvalis, earned gold awards from WFC. New Orleans earned a bronze award, as did Forest Park.

Even real-estate-rating organizations are starting to take note of walkablility, said Denise Murray of Live Healthy Forest Park.

“Forest Park has the highest walk score of any community in Illinois, even higher than the city of Chicago,” she said. According to walkscore.com, every point of walkability adds $3,000 worth of value to a home’s selling price. Forest Park scored an 85 out of 100 or “very walkable” on Walkscore.

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...