Green spaces benefit people’s health and well-being, but they must be accessible in order for such positive impacts to come to fruition. The concept of Safe Routes to Parks considers the infrastructure required for a safe, connected system between parks, their access points, and their surrounding infrastructure.
In January 2016, the Federal Highway Administration’s Fostering Livable Communities Newsletter highlighted APA’s work to support Safe Routes to Parks. Facilitating access to parks through walking, biking, and transit is a critical consideration when taking a systems approach to park creation. Learn more about the four areas where good planning can have the most impact on creating Safe Routes to Parks — assessment/gap analysis, siting policy, Capital Improvement Program (CIP), and partnerships — and read the full article.
In addition to the health benefits of spending time in green spaces, accessing them via active transportation offers health benefits as well. As discussed in this U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) blog post, people who use public transportation walk more than those who don’t and also report feeling better following travel. Enabling Safe Routes to Parks is one component of active transportation. Explore DOT’s online Transportation and Health Tool to see how different areas compare in addressing transportation and health issues.
To learn more about Safe Routes to Parks, check out Plan4Health’s toolkit, which includes a webinar, fact sheet, and other resources to facilitate access to parks through walking, biking, or transit. Also check out this Plan4Health blog post from December 2015 highlighting DOT’s tool in more depth.
Image from APA.
February is American Heart Month, the perfect time to start being more physically active and accessing parks via active transportation options! Did you know that 80 percent of heart disease and strokes may be prevented by lifestyle changes? Increase daily activity by parking your car a little farther away from your destination, taking the stairs to your office, or taking a brisk walk at lunch.