Walk Friendly Communities on the rise

Cities all across the United States are applying to become Walk Friendly Communities, and Grandview, Missouri, is one of them!

In early summer, KC Healthy Kids, Mid-America Regional Council, the city of Grandview, Missouri, and the AARP Missouri state office sponsored the Step Up, Walk Friendly Summit, a two-day workshop that attracted more than 80 advocates, planners and engineers. The goal of the summit was to provide information on the benefits of being a Walk Friendly Community and how cities can get involved.

Walk Friendly Communities is a national program that recognizes the efforts cities and towns have made to enhance walkability and pedestrian safety in their areas. They offer tools to refine or establish comprehensive programs, plans and policies in order to create safer walking conditions by improving safety, mobility, access and comfort.

Communities that apply to the program are in the running to receive Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze awards, which reflect the walkability of the city. However, those that apply but do not receive a designation are not left empty-handed. Walk Friendly Communities gives them specific suggestions and resources on how to make necessary modifications for better pedestrian safety. With these tools, communities are able to correctly identify areas that need improvements and make changes for the next year.

The benefits of being a Walk Friendly Community are well worth the effort. Individuals are less likely to use their cars if walking conditions are more favorable. This, subsequently, saves them money that could be used elsewhere. The designation could also increase property values of the area, attract new businesses and increase the revenue stream for the city.

In addition to an economic boost, there are health benefits as well. Poor sidewalk conditions create an obstacle to healthy living because many individuals rely on their surroundings as a source for exercise. Walk Friendly Communities alleviate this issue by creating more accessible environments.

Walkable sidewalks also encourage people of all ages to walk together and that ultimately makes our communities stronger.

KC Healthy Kids is excited to be part of this groundbreaking pilot to scale Walk Friendly Communities across the region. Learn the basics at www.walkfriendly.org or email Sarah Shipley at sshipley@kchealthykids.org to schedule a customized Walk Friendly Community presentation in your city.

For more updates on KC Healthy Kids, please like our Facebook page: “KC Healthy Kids” and follow us on Twitter @KCHealthyKids.

This blog post is part of A Healthy 10.

Health Forward Foundation
2300 Main Street, Suite 304
Kansas City, MO 64108
(816) 241-7006