Bicycling and Walking
Studies have shown that the prevalence of obesity in America and other affluent countries is directly related to lifestyle patterns. To promote physical activity, public health professionals and policymakers are exploring ways in which our traditional transportation and pedestrian infrastructures can be revamped so people can meet recommended levels of physical activity.
Historically, local planners and engineers have created roads with one use in mind: driving a car. “Auto-centric” road design can discourage active living, such as walking to the grocery store or biking to the park. A growing number of communities are asking their local planners and engineers to “complete their streets,” by planning, designing, upgrading and building road networks that are safe and accessible for drivers, pedestrians, public transit riders and bicyclists, regardless of age or ability.
Public health lawyers, working with other public health professionals, city planners, and local stakeholders can help craft Complete Streets policies and related initiatives that meet a community’s transportation, safety, economic and public health needs. They can work within the community to ensure that policy directives are clear, unambiguous, broad, and flexible. The directives should also contain specific implementation steps, deadlines, and accountability measures, such as reporting requirements.