The city of Sandy Springs and the founder of We Love BuHi are among the winners of pedestrian advocacy group PEDS’ annual “Golden Shoe” awards.

The Atlanta-based group says its awards “celebrate progress and honor walk-friendly people and places.” This year’s awards – consisting of an actual gold-colored Converse sneaker – were given out Jan. 23 at a Midtown event.

The “Golden Shoe” award received by the city of Sandy Springs. (Special)

Sandy Springs won a “suburban retrofit” honor for pedestrian goals built into its massive City Springs civic center project and its new land-use plan and zoning code created through the “Next Ten” planning process. An awards announcement praised the city’s work on “an urban street grid, high-density development and a true city center and sense of place.”

Sally Flocks, PEDS’ president and CEO, said the city’s work has had “tremendous impact.”

“Creating a unique, vibrant, walkable city center is a vision brought forth by the community,” said Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul in a press release. “As stewards of that vision, it is exciting to watch unfold. We have work to do, but are delighted to be recognized by PEDS.”

We Love BuHi founder Marian Liou on Buford Highway in 2015. (File/John Ruch)

Brookhaven resident Marian Liou founded the nonprofit We Love BuHi in 2015 to both promote and preserve Buford Highway’s famous diverse community. Among her efforts are emphasizing better pedestrian safety and amenities.

“Marian has helped complete the Buford Highway Master Plan and developed numerous events that celebrate diversity, introduce new people to the community and encourage exploration,” the awards announcement said. She won in the “advocacy” category.

“Obviously, there is a long way to go before Buford Highway can be considered a people-friendly environment,” Liou said. “I’m extremely grateful for this honor, and I look forward to continuing working with advocacy groups like PEDS in supporting a safe, healthy, walkable Buford Highway that remains the unique and remarkable place it is today.”

Other Golden Shoe winners include Darin Givens, a writer on urbanism and co-founder of the ThreadATL.org commentary site; Walgreens, for its restoration of a downtown Atlanta building; and “Good Urbanism 101” project designed by the Georgia Conservancy and Georgia Tech professor Richard Dagenhart.

For more information, see peds.org.

Update: This story has been updated with comment from Marian Liou.

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