About the Issue
We all agree that people who walk, roll, run, bike, drive or ride a bus or train should all get to enjoy roads and paths designed to safely accommodate their travel.
We are working to make it safe for people to share the road with cars and trucks. Sidewalks that connect to parks, public transportation, and schools; roads that include designated and protected bike lanes; and streets that accommodate all people, can help us safely be active and improve our quality of life. We need to work to make sure our counties, states, cities and town fund these initiatives. In particular, we need to focus on the many communities with low income and communities of color that have lacked well-maintained routes to parks and schools, roads, bike lanes, and sidewalks for decades. In many cases they simply don’t have transportation options at all. The same neighborhoods often experience higher rates of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. We must make up for years of lost opportunities and make these neighborhoods a priority moving forward.
These kinds of safety improvements to our streets also provide more opportunities for people to be physically active as a part of their daily routines. Engaging in daily physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, and some types of cancer.
Well-designed streets are safe, people-friendly, and support good health by making it easier and safer for people to be physically active while going around town. Healthy and safe street design offers many benefits to states, cities and towns, including:
• Fewer crashes and traffic injuries
• Improved visibility of people walking and bicycling
• Improved air quality
• Improved friendliness of the street environment, for walking, bicycling, shopping, waiting for the bus, chatting with neighbors, or playing
• Improved connectivity amongst neighbors
• Increased visibility for local business owners
Studies show that people who live in walkable neighborhoods generally get more physical activity each week and have a lower risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and certain cancers than those who live in neighborhoods that are less walkable. At a time when 75% of teens do not get enough physical activity, this is something we can all get behind.
Kids, families, older adults, or people with disabilities all deserve safe ways to get around town—whether they are walking, pushing a stroller, using a wheelchair, riding a bike, driving a car, or taking public transportation.
Throughout this toolkit, you will find helpful information for building out your own advocacy efforts aimed at making your cities and neighborhoods more livable by ensuring all people get safely to where they need to go—work, school, the library, grocery store, or parks. Together, with our policy leaders, we can support additional funding to help create streets built to share™.