In Bensenville, Illinois, a suburb about 17 miles outside of Chicago, a coalition of planning and public health professionals leveraged the Plan4Health grant funds to implement an Active Transportation Plan and Complete Streets policy. Members of the coalition had been working for years to incorporate an active transportation component into the village’s comprehensive plan — they achieved this in early 2015. The Plan4Health grant allowed these individuals to form a coalition and devote time and resources to put that plan into action. On March 30, 2016, the village announced the adoption of the Active Transportation Plan and a Complete Streets Policy.
The B-Well Bensenville Plan4Health coalition focused its efforts on Bensenville’s most vulnerable populations — low-income and Hispanic residents. These groups face high rates of obesity and low levels of physical activity. The coalition made a concerted effort to reach this subset of the population by including community residents as members of the coalition and actively understanding the challenges they face. Outreach efforts to receive community input shaped the way the Active Transportation Plan was implemented.
In addition to other partners, the coalition worked closely with the Active Transportation Alliance to further community access to active transportation options. The Active Transportation Alliance is also working closely with a local PICH project. The two CDC-funded projects working in tandem resulted in substantial momentum in Illinois for communities to walk, bike, and use public transit.
Interested in learning more about the work underway in Bensenville? Bensenville is spreading the word about active transportation and complete streets through a series of commercials in both English and Spanish: