Thursday, December 1, 2022

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KY: Push for Complete Streets to Yield Better Health, Environment

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Thursday, August 26, 2010   

FRANKFORT, Ky. - A child advocacy group in Kentucky is hoping to pave the way to wellness by encouraging communities to adopt "complete street" policies that allow for safe physical activity and recreation. Kentucky weighs in nationally as the seventh highest in terms of adult obesity, and it takes third place in childhood obesity.

Andrea Plummer, health policy analyst for Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA), says communities that design roadways to accommodate bicyclists, pedestrians and transit users can help reverse those grim health trends. The concept is called complete streets, she explains.

"This term has been emerging as an idea to help increase physical activity in communities. So, the concept in recent years has become much more popular as a recommendation."

Plummer also touts the climate cooling potential of complete streets, reducing carbon emissions by encouraging shorter trips on foot or by bike anbd offering some relief from traffic-clogged roadways. However, winning the battle of the bulge is the main reason KYA wants more folks to pound the pavement, she says.

"We really want to promote children being active in their communities and complete streets really allows for safe access to the road."

In 2008, Louisville became the first city to adopt a complete street ordinance requiring that new roads are constructed with all users in mind. Lexington is in the planning process of adopting such a policy. Frankfort has a bicycling and walking plan, a step along the way to complete streets. But the concept doesn't take a one-size-fits-all approach, adds Plummer.

"It doesn't mean that you have to have a bike lane on every street or a sidewalk on every street. So, in a rural area where it's mostly motorists that are using the roadway, a wide paved shoulder might accommodate a complete street."

Each complete street is unique and differs in urban and rural areas. Common elements include sidewalks, transit stops, accessible pedestrian signals, and bike lanes or wide, paved shoulders.



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