Today's BWL column focuses on the importance of walkability, and highlights the 5 goals laid out by the Surgeon General in his recent Call to Action to make walking a national priority.
News-Press "Go Coastal" Section, BikeWalkLee Column, Sept. 17, 2015 http://www.news-press.com/story/life/outdoors/2015/09/16/walkability-step-up-bikewalklee-southwest-florida-lee-county-surgeon-general/7231470/
Well, think about it. What makes a community? The interaction of its citizens, their health, their safety, the ability to work and play, someone’s engagement and appreciation in the array of community assets?
However, the focus today is not community-building as a direct effort, but rather the benefits of greater walkability for the citizens in a community - which also benefits the community as a whole. This is inspired most recently by “Step It Up,” a call by the U.S. Surgeon General to promote walking and walkable communities nationwide.
As one might expect from the office, the initial focus is on walking’s benefits to healthy and sustainable living, as an effective and accessible way to reduce the risk of or better manage chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and many more. But this report goes further, touching on the wider benefits of walkability for a community’s safety, economy, air quality and social cohesion. It also touches on why people don’t walk – safety, design, lack of time, disability – and how various segments of the community can contribute to enhancing walkability.
- Goal 1. Make walking a national priority and encourage people to promote walking and make their communities more walkable.
- Goal 2. Design communities that make it safe and easy to walk for people of all ages and abilities.
- Goal 3. Promote programs and policies to support walking where people live, learn, work and play.
- Goal 4. Provide information to encourage walking and improve walkability.
- Goal 5. Fill surveillance, research and evaluation gaps related to walking and walkability.
After all, wouldn’t we all like to encourage healthy living – and a healthier community?
BikeWalkLee is a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County—streets that are designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Information, statistics and background online at www.BikeWalkLee.org.
Have a favorite route you like to bike, or a unique walk you’d like to share with others? Tell us about it at firstname.lastname@example.org, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.
Ready to run or ride
Run: October race season is coming, and with it you’ll find an event almost every weekend... starting with the Lexington Cares 5K Run/Walk on Oct. 3, to benefit the Regional Cancer Center’s Breast Health Center.
Ride: No organized events until the SW Florida Critical Mass ride on Friday, Oct. 2, starting at the field next to the downtown Publix at 7:30 p.m. Bring your lights and helmet, and join the fun.
Both: Your next chance to try a sprint tri will be on the first weekend of October. Head north to Siesta Key on Saturday, Oct. 3 (www.siestakeytriathlon.org), or south to Marco Island on Sunday, Oct. 4 (www.thefitnesschallengetriathlon.com).