5 Things You Need to Know About Active Transportation
Active transportation is defined by the CDC as “any self-propelled, human-powered mode of transportation, such as walking or bicycling.” For me, I picture the streets and sidewalks of Stars Hollow (if you’re a Gilmore Girl) or all the quaint little towns in the Hallmark Christmas movies. You know the ones. Everyone is always walking or biking to do their errands and people meet each other on the sidewalk and no one is getting run over by a car.
Many Americas think that walking and bicycling are unsafe. Most of us don’t live in Stars Hollow. Many people live and work near heavy traffic with a scarcity of sidewalks, crosswalks, and bicycle facilities. Let’s face it, if the library is across a major highway and there are no crosswalks or signals, you’re going to be driving there, not walking. But what if it were the opposite? What if most Americans could feel safe walking or biking to the park, school, grocery store, and library? Everyone is getting their steps in, being physically active, losing weight, strengthening their heart, spending less on health care…You get the picture. It’s the snowball effect but in a good way!
Many communities are implementing “complete streets” designs to encourage active transportation. Complete streets include sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and share-the-road signs. Complete street designs are great because they make active transportation easier and safer for people riding bikes, using wheelchairs, and walking. I like to imagine that the transportation planner in Stars Hollow was a “complete streets” person and that’s why you see everyone walking and biking through town.
Safe Routes to School programs aim to make it safer for children to walk and bike to school safely. The great thing about making sure kids have a safe route to walk or ride to school is that the entire community benefits from having safe bike and pedestrian paths. Each year, the National Safe Routes to School hosts the National Walk and Bike to School Day to celebrate the benefits of walking or biking to school. It’s easy to take part in the event and if your school doesn’t participate, it’s easy to help them plan an event! You can find everything you need to know on the Walk & Bike to School Website.