Thursday, July 23, 2009

Healthcare Legislation Includes Money For Walking

Healthcare legislation working its way through Congress is apparently more than an effort to provide insurance to millions of Americans without coverage. Included is a provision that could provide billions of dollars for walking paths and walking ammenities.

Some people say this is a classic example of pork barrel spending, but others argue it's a necessary way to promote healthier lives and, in the long run, cut medical costs. Here's the Boston Globe article.


vanillajane said...

OK, so our "health care" right now is all about going to the doctor when things aren't going so well. What about encouraging GOOD health and PREVENTION?

Creating walking and biking paths that are clear of motorists are preventive. Many people think of their options for walking and biking and conclude their only option is the gym. Too bad most rural communities only cater to vehicle traffic with urban areas starting to catch on (with drastic results of 50% fewer obesity rates!)
If we really take a close look, vehicle use has been overly subsidized without many other viable options that will serve others. The easier solution would be to take 1% of our roads, which are the proportion of those biking, and make them bike ped only.

I know... Easier said then done.
Then anyone could ride the giant CooTer FREELY from one end of Spokane to the other!!!

SRTC Staff said...

I work with the Spokane Regional Health District on several projects. And sometimes when I mention that to people they can't understand why someone from a transportation agency would team up with a health care agency. You point out the connection between biking, walking and health and they look at you like you just grew another head. I think that those of us older than our 20s grew up with the mindset that bicycling is something you do as a kid for fun (riding around the block with your friends) and walking is something you do when your car breaks down.

And, just a side note, one of the projects I'm working on with the Health District is a possible 'Summer Parkway' where we close down a street or portion of a street to vehicles for a day (or part of a day) so that bicyclists, walkers, roller bladers, etc. can use the street for recreation. Things are moving slow though, not sure how much support we'll be able to get.

vanillajane said...

Hopefully people will be aware of the closure so they use it.

So many things are interrelated. Transportation planning and public health are very strong allies, though.

About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.