KidsWalk releases 2014 school walkability report

Siblings Darriella Watson, 6, and Derrick Watson, 7, lead a walking group on Pauline Street to ARISE Academy for International Walk to School Day Wednesday morning. Others in the group, from left to right, included ARISE Principal Andrew Schahan, second-grade teacher Kathleen Stevens, New Orleans Health Commissioner Karen DeSalvo and State Police Trooper Mark Jackson.

KidsWalk Staff Photo: Siblings Darriella Watson, 6, and Derrick Watson, 7, lead a walking group on Pauline Street to ARISE Academy for International Walk to School Day in October 2011. Others in the group, from left to right, included ARISE Principal Andrew Schahan, second-grade teacher Kathleen Stevens, New Orleans Health Commissioner Karen DeSalvo and State Police Trooper Mark Jackson.

Around New Orleans public schools, many sidewalks and streets have been improved over the past few years, but other schools and their students still face unsafe walking conditions, according to a new report from the KidsWalk Coalition.

The new report features results of walkability surveys of the areas surrounding public elementary and middle schools in New Orleans. The KidsWalk Coalition, a program at the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC), updated its 2011 Stepping to School report with this new 2014 Stepping to School report.

Studies show providing safe, walkable and bikeable urban environments are proven ways to improve health by encouraging residents to be physically active. And, unfortunately, only about one in three Louisiana children get their recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity.

Read the 2014 Stepping to School Report.

 

 

 

 

KidsWalk enters New Orleans into “Walk Friendly Communities” program

2011 saw New Orleans earn a “bronze” designation in the national Bike Friendly Communities program. Now, we’re trying to bring the city similar recognition for making walking safe, convenient and interesting. The national Walk Friendly Communities program encourages towns and cities across the U.S. to commit to supporting safer walking environments, and recognizes communities that are working to improve conditions related to walking, including safety, mobility, access, and comfort. 

This week the Coalition is submitting the application, which evaluates the city’s efforts to improve walking, including:

  • Planning
  • Education and encouragement
  • Engineering
  • Enforcement, and
  • Evaluation

Questions vary from “what percentage of residents walk for their commute to work?” to “Does your community use targeted enforcement programs to ensure the safety and security of pedestrians in crosswalks and on city streets, trails, and walkways?”

While official recognition would be nice, we’re really looking forward to learning where New Orleans could improve its efforts in the areas listed above, compared to other cities around the country. Check out recently designated Walk Friendly Communities and their own programs, such as Minneapolis and its BikeWalkMove education campaign, and the Walk!Philadelphia wayfinding system.

The Weekly Walk: Obesity and Poverty: The tale in a Mississippi town

Here is this week’s roundup of national stories on childhood obesity and active transportation:

The State of Mississippi is losing the battle against obesity (NPR)

“Pop-up” playgrounds adopted to tackle childhood obesity in New York neighborhoods (NYT)

Research article tackles the influence of social networks on the obesity epidemic (NYT)

Utah is seen as a national template for walkable and sustainable neighborhoods (SLT)

The Weekly Walk: CYCLE Program educates kids on healthy and active living

Here is this week’s roundup of national stories on childhood obesity and active transportation:

Camden, NJ combats childhood obesity by helping kids overcome barriers (TSTC)

Obesity and smoking blamed as determinants of lifespan of women in the South (LAT)

Bike trail set to spur economic development in Illinois (Regional)

Recent study finds financial factors affecting healthy living (Reuters)

Lack of “Complete Streets” fuels obesity epidemic in rural town (TBO)

Community initiative targeting physical activity and healthy living gets $1M (TBJ)

Local city adopts innovative approach to addressing childhood obesity in Massachusetts (Sentinel)

The Weekly Walk: New Jersey community embraces Healthy Living Initiative

Here is this week’s roundup of national stories on childhood obesity and active transportation:

Active living and healthier lifestyles embraced in New Jersey community (Northjersey)

New York City sees an increase in cycling as support for bike lanes grows (Transportationnation.org)

U.S debate over debt and deficit poses significant threat to dealing with the obesity epidemic (Thehill.com)

Recent article tackles the relationship between poverty and childhood obesity (NJ.com)

The government or private citizens, who is responsible for curbing the obesity epidemic? (Chicagotribune)

Los Angeles, CA making huge strides in increasing bike ridership (Streetsblog.org)

The Weekly Walk: Safe Routes to School Program in Jeopardy of being eliminated.

Here is this week’s roundup of national stories on childhood obesity and active transportation:

Safe Routes to School Program in jeopardy of losing federal funding (stnonline)

California school district plans to combat childhood obesity (KPBS)

Report shows decline in obesity rates in Florida community (TBO)

Article compares the health benefits of living in the city versus the country (WSJ)

Food industry balks at new federal guideline on marketing to kids (NYT)

Industry efforts to promote healthier meals to children find unlikely allies (Reuters)

Federal bicycle/pedestrian funding under attack!

Over the last several years, federal transportation funding programs have been critical to making New Orleans a safer place to walk, bike and be physically active. These include Safe Routes to School, Recreational Trails and Transportation Enhancement, each of which have funded local projects. But right now, key Congressional leaders are attacking these vital programs and threatening to cut off dedicated federal funding for bicycling and walking.  Please take a moment to visit the the Safe Routes to School National Partnership to learn more about Congress’ proposal and what you can do to ensure that New Orleans continues to receive vital support for safe, walkable and bikeable neighborhoods.

The Weekly Walk: Environmentally friendly modes of transportation adopted to make cities more livable for pedestrians.

New laws threaten gains made in stemming the obesity epidemic. (NYT)

European environmental agency strives to adapt cities to accommodate walkers. (NYT)

National Prevention Strategy committed to keeping Americans healthier. (LAT)

Plymouth, MA kicks off Healthy Community Initiative. (Patriot Ledger)

American Academy of Pediatrics rips the media for their role in influencing the childhood obesity epidemic. (LAT)

Walkable streets credited for making us happier. (Grist)

The Weekly Walk: Complete streets projects produce more jobs

The Obama administration released a plan on Thursday that calls for preventing disease and injury, with a greater emphasis on creating healthier homes, communities, foods, roads and workplaces. (WP)

Evidence based recommendations for preventing childhood obesity. (RWJF)

The need for walkable streets to promote healthier neighborhoods keeps local expert on demand. (NYT)

“Complete Streets” projects influences job growth. (Streetsblog)

Michelle Obama’s “Let’s move campaign”, a common sense approach to living healthy. (LAT)