Safe Routes to healthy places
A Pilot Study: Safe Routes to Healthy Places
- Encourages increased physical activity through safer, active transportation
- Promotes walking, bicycling, or other forms of active transportation among individuals and families
- Educates the community and improves the built environment to create more pedestrian-friendly spaces
Understanding that people’s health is significantly influenced by their environment, zip code, and neighborhood, Safe Routes to Healthy Places works to ensure residents feel supported when walking, biking, and rolling to nearby destinations.
After a successful Safe Routes to School experience from 2017-2018, Live Well Omaha secured funding to launch Safe Routes to Healthy Places (SRTHP) in January 2019. SRTHP is one of the first of its kind in the area and connects residents with safe routes to local assets such as schools, housing developments, parks, community centers, health clinics and grocery stores.
We have partnered with Seventy Five North to launch this pilot study at the Highlander. The Highlander is located in a historic African-American North Omaha neighborhood that has suffered through economic disenfranchisement, social isolation, and health disparities. Active transportation is important to the Highlander neighborhood as it has been designed to include these unique amenities: a road diet, bike lanes, a bike sharing stop, and solar-powered bus stops.
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Wins as of October 2019
- Crosswalk lines were painted (over a year ahead of schedule) at 30th and Patrick Ave. and 30th and Blondo
- Public Works approved the purchase of portable pedestrian crossing signs to be placed at these crosswalks during busy times (and maintained by Seventy Five North). Live Well Omaha covered the cost of one of these signs
- The pedestrian push button crossing time was lengthened at 30th and Lake
- Omaha Police Department increased their visibility along North 30th Street during the first week of the 2019-2020 school year, to remind drivers of the speed limit and support families who were getting their kids to school
- Omaha Public Schools worked with Student Transportation to ensure that school buses pick up Highlander youth curbside, removing the need for kids to cross the street to get on and off their school bus
- Highlander resident and Safe Routes to Highlander Advisory Council member Ms. Poole traveled with Live Well Omaha to the State Capitol to see Governor Ricketts proclaim October 2 as Walk, Bike, & Roll to School Day in Nebraska.
Resources to Begin a Safe Routes to Heathy Places Program:
- Advisory Council Roles – the purpose of this document is to describe the roles and responsibilities of a advisory council (SAC), a critical element of the Safe Routes program success. The SAC is comprised of diverse stakeholders who lead strategy, nominate champions and ensure that progress is sustained throughout the planning, implementation and evaluation process.
- Strategy Checklist – SRTHP utilizes complementary strategies to encourage active commuting to/ from nearby destinations. These strategies are evaluation, equity, education, encouragement, engineering, and enforcement. While no two SRTHP programs are exactly alike, the options for promoting walking and biking are just as varied- including offering bike safety education, starting a walking school bus, refreshing crosswalks to increase visibility, and enforcing existing traffic laws to ensure residents can safely navigate intersections and street crossings.
- SRTHP sample timeline – A timeline of the SRTHP program provides advisory council members and others with clarity on project deliverables. Creating a timeline based on SMART goals helps ensure your SRTHP work is focused and stays on track. The timeline is a living document that can and should be modified over time and revisited regularly at SAC meetings. A SMART goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.
Media for Safe Routes to Heathy Places:
This project would not be possible without the support of many local individuals and organizations, including:
- Union Pacific Foundation
- Seventy Five North
- Highlander residents
- Highlander Neighborhood Association
- City of Omaha
- ONE Omaha
- Charles Drew Health Center, Inc.
- Creighton University
- Howard Kennedy Elementary