By Mary Velan
Several communities are exploring active transportation plans that encourage walking, cycling and public transit in an effort to reduce emissions and congestion while boosting public health.
Winnipeg The city of Winnipeg recently announced $330 million active transportation strategy that will support initiatives to boost walking and cycling in the community. The Winnipeg plan calls for:
- Expanding the city’s existing bicycle network
- Making active transportation more convenient with amenities such as bike parking
- Improving safety and accessibility with visible facilities specifically for bicyclists and pedestrians
The $330 million strategy aims to lay the foundation for a number of active transportation projects in the future that will make walking and bicycling easier, more convenient and safer. The city decided to pursue the active transportation initiative after collecting public feedback via surveys, town hall meetings, open houses and workshops.
The first steps of the active transportation plan include improving sidewalks and enhancing streetscapes to make bicyclists and pedestrians more of a priority over motorists in key neighborhoods. The city will also launch a public awareness campaign to showcase the many benefits associated with active transportation and reduced reliance on motor vehicles.
SANDAG Mini Grants
The San Diego Association of Governments launched a Walk, Ride and Roll to School mini-grant program to further encourage active transportation projects and policies in the community. SANDAG has a total of $30,000 available in grants of up to $1,500 each for eligible public or private schools or school districts.
The goal of the mini-grant program is to help schools or school districts develop active transportation programs that educate students on how to use alternative transit to get to and from school safely. The funding will be used to develop and promote pedestrian and bicycle safety campaigns in schools and launch community outreach efforts.
Eligible programs funded by the mini grants address a variety of active transportation concepts including:
- Encouraging students to walk, bike, skate or ride a scooter to school
- Bike rodeos and safety obstacle courses for students
- A walking school bus or bike train program
- Classes related to bike and pedestrian safety
- Contests that challenge and reward students for using active transportation
Schools can utilize the funding to organize events and workshops around student schedules to ensure they reach as many participants as possible.
SDSU Student Assessment
According to the South Dakota Department of Health, just 53.7 percent of state residents get the recommended 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week, while only 4.8 percent bike or walk to work. As a result, the department is launching a statewide effort to increase alternative modes of transit that support a more active lifestyle, Mitchell Republic reported.
In Salem, students from South Dakota State University presented an active transportation assessment to residents that featured recommendations on how to improve the quality of life and safety of local pedestrians. The student project outlined ideas for increasing active transportation in Salem through a variety of initiatives including:
- Adding bike lanes and sidewalks downtown
- Improving lighting along roadways
- Launching education programs for drivers to raise awareness about cyclists and pedestrians
The city is also looking to renovate some of its parks as well as start building new ones on available property. These parks could include plazas with outdoor amenities to encourage foot and bicycle traffic, Mitchell Republic reported.