So often, children lack a safe way to physically get to a summer recreation site, where they can eat healthy meals, participate in physical activity, and engage in social and emotional connections with their peers.
Using CDC’s park access measures, Five Rivers MetroParks of Dayton, Ohio evaluated access to its Five Rivers MetroParks for residents within a half mile radius of the parks. This method included looking at proximity to parks, walking access to parks, and park connectivity.
Viva CalleSJ is an innovative and free program that temporarily closes miles of San José streets to bring communities together to walk, bike, skate, play, and explore the city like never before. The inaugural event was held on October 15, 2015, in Downtown and Eastbound San José.
Stories from Small Towns is a project of the National Physical Activity Society. The objective of the project is to demonstrate that structural changes to make walking easier can be carried out in America’s thousands of small towns and not just its big cities. The project focuses on advice from towns that have made some changes, with the aim of inspiring town leaders across the country to see such infrastructure as possible and worthy. The following are stories from small towns that have focused on parks as a key to walkability.
In 2006, a national magazine declared Oklahoma City one of the fattest cities in the United States. That spurred Mayor Mick Cornett into action, first by losing 38 pounds on a diet based on sensible eating and exercise, then by launching a campaign to help his city lose one million pounds. “There’s no other way to put it, we were overweight,” Cornett said. “I knew if I wanted to encourage change in our citizens, I had to first change myself,” Cornett said. The campaign ignited local leadership to reshape how the city needed to change in terms of walkability and citizen fitness.
On the hills and riverbanks near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, New Year’s Day, 1863, dawned to the sounds of gunfire. In the Battle of Stones River, Union forces repulsed two Confederate attacks near Murfreesboro—in the clash that produced the highest percentage of casualties on both sides of any of the major battles of the Civil War.
The Paseo Trail System in Chandler, Arizona, is filled with joggers, roller-bladers, bicyclists, walkers and horseback riders who frequent the urban, lighted path year-round. With multiple entry and exit points along the trail, there needed to be a way for users to know where they were along the route.
Most cities vie to be “first” in something, but when Corpus Christi, Texas was named the “Fattest City in the United States” in 2010 by Men’s Health Magazine, city leadership sought to quickly shed the pounds (and the title) by establishing a Mayor’s Fitness Council to promote healthier lifestyles.
Two staff from the Morristown Parks & Recreation Department took a walk on The Green with an official from the city’s tourism bureau. They were seeking ways to promote physical activity in Morristown; making sustainable and lasting changes was important. They considered potential stakeholders and government officials who could be brought together for collaboration, including engineers, police, and the school district.
When local leaders in Vanderburgh County, Indiana, sought to increase physical activity as part of the Community Health Initiative, they realized the problem of traffic congestion at large community events could be solved as well. And the solution they found was as simple as a bicycle rack.
How is it that more children at Lynnwood Elementary School are ‘taking the bus’, but the community has the strongest walk-to-school program in the state? That’s because it’s a walking bus, a series of pick-ups along the routes to school where children can join a supervised group to get to school.
Engaging in physical activity can be a challenge in rural areas, where sidewalks are scarce, fitness facilities are limited, and there’s little access to public transportation. In western Pennsylvania, many residents are confronted with this issue on a daily basis.
Increasing physical activity is attributed often to two things: access and knowledge. For San Antonio, Texas, there is a third factor—collaboration—and it is changing the way residents are getting, and staying, active throughout the city.