It's Not Rocket Science: We Need Walkable Communities
This post is brought to you by GOOD with support from The California Endowment.
What would you do to make your neighborhood safer and more walkable? I know I would add more grass and trees to the sidewalks and, if possible, I would advocate for a dirt trail to separate me even more from the street traffic. Sadly, I'm noticing that more of my friends and family are walking less and driving more to their destinations. Studies show that the risk of obesity increases by six percent for each hour driven per day. That makes me think twice about the trips I can be taking without my car.
In 1969, walking made up 40 percent of all trips, but in 2008 walking trips decreased to 11 percent. The reality is that it's not entirely our fault; the environment has been built in a way that influences our behavior and leads us to a more sedentary lifestyle. I'm personally not inclined to walk to the grocery store if the streets are littered with trash, the sidewalk is unpaved, or if my only option is a high-speed avenue.
Health happens in neighborhoods with neighbors and members of the community working together to make their environment healthier and safer. I know a few people that would probably invest in a human-powered teleporter to get from one place to the other, as presented by the rocket scientist in this video series, but the truth is there are simpler and more economic solutions to our walkability problem.
We can become walking advocates to make our communities safer and more walkable. By working together with our friends and neighbors we can organize advocate groups, develop successful walking activities and change local transportation policy. How are you making health happen in your neighborhood? Share with us below how you or someone you know is working to bring healthy changes to your local neighborhood.
Find out how The California Endowment is working closely with community members throughout California to build healthier communities.