Video and poll: Our health and destination exercise?
Health problems related to obesity and being overweight will be one of the biggest public health challenges we face in the coming years. How could our transportation system help encourage people to be more physically active?
- Bike/pedestrian friendliness (i.e., move people, not just cars). Better relationship between transportation and land use so destinations are more reachable in terms of distance/safety.
- Provide more safe streets. Adopt the Canadian 8-80 concept. More dedicated bike lanes, bike parking. Increased availability of mass transit (buses and LRT) which promote walking. More option for safe walking in all communities. Consider more covered wlakways for winter.
- Provide safe places to bike along roads so biking will get people to the places they need to be. This is especially necessary just outside of Rochester, Minnesota where the roads are 55MPH and hilly. A bike lane would get these people who live just outside of the city limits to their jobs and stores in Rochester. 75th st nw west of hwy 52 is greatly in need of a wide shoulder on the road as there are many bikers, farm equipment and fast vehicles. It truly is not safe for bicyclists and so they either bike at their own peril or do not us bicycles instead of vehicles to get to their destinations.
- create safety, opportunities, promotion and helping change the norms about design just for cars. The opportunity to get communities involved to join the transportation effort to transform how we move is so exciting!
- More separation of bicycles from motor traffic. Although experienced "hard core" bikers are able to navigate traffic, novices or "8-80s", as Dan referred to, often create hazards to themselves by being unsure how to do so.
- Living in a rural area this is a significant issue. I believe the best way to encourage people in rural areas to walk and bike more, and bike commute to their jobs, is by providing paved trails separate from roadways were people feel safe to walk and bike.
- - Convenient access for biking/walking.
- Always plan fully for complete access for bike/walk on bridges (unless safe access is <1/4 mile away).
- Install sidewalks on both sides of streets.
- Don't require peds to push buttons to get a walk signal
- Winter ped concerns: always plan for snow storage next to walks; keep walks clear to pavement to avoid icy walks; clear corners and bus stops to ensure use/safety.
- Prioritize non-motorized transportation but that won't target the people who really need it. Unless the vast majority of people stop using their cars, the transportation system will continue to be a detriment to public health. Really, people need to be active at work instead of sitting at a desk for 8 hours.
- What I don't get is you see these folks that have to get to the "club" to "workout" then they have to park as close to a store or resturant so they don't have to walk.
Makes no sense, does it!
- More safe bike paths
- We need to build a transportation system that is all inclusive - meaning people that are married to their vehicles can still drive to/from a destination, but we need to have healthy transportation options such as bike/ped. facilities along or parallel to the same corridors. Our transportation system also needs to be designed appropriately based on smart land use decisions and future congestion levels taking into account a shift in modal (bike/ped., transit, auto, rail, water, etc.) users.
- I'm an old person who has been an avid runner, walker, biker rider and X-country skier througout my life. I use the street by my house --even though many of my miles are not on trails or sidewalks. Trails can help get walking -- but not to the degree that many planners seem to think. In fact, I don't really think transportation systems are a major factor to influencing more physical exercise. For much of the year trails and sidewalks are too cold, snow packed, icy and dangerous. I walk in the street most of the winter just to get a surface that's even and has enough traction that the road doesn't cause knee problems. I think trails are important because of the fairness issue - not everyone has a car. But transportation planners should stick to providing a good transportation system for all modes rather than veer off into the issues of excercise and health. I think overeating and choice of food (sugars, particularly fructose, and simple carbohydrate molecures) is far and away more important to health than trails.
- On a local level, there needs to be more support for sidewalks and trails. Too often residents fight against the addition of sidewalks because: 1) they don't want to have to shovel them in the winter (guess what? That's physical activity! Easy way to hit your 30 minutes in the winter!) and/or 2) they don't want "those" people walking in their yards, when often it's their neighbors and fellow residents are the ones that are using the sidewalks. The addition of sidewalks and trails can make it easier for residents to safely walk or bike to work, school, library, church, playground, commercial areas, etc. Kids who can walk/bike to school are getting some of their physical activity for the day and the district saves money by not needing to provide bus service.
- Right now, our road, highway, and rail networks often create barriers for pedestrians and cyclists. On roads, cars tend to go too fast, and wider streets can be unfriendly places for people trying to get across. Traffic calming along with changes to the design of roads at crosswalks is needed. Additionally, freeways and rail lines in cities and towns need to have pedestrian bridges or tunnels added so that people can get across without having to go miles out of their way. These structures can hugely reduce bike and pedestrian travel time, and make communities much more connected, while also potentially saving lives of people who might otherwise try to sneak across.
Similarly, public transit needs to be made more attractive with faster and more frequent service, so people can walk or bike to the bus or train.
Land use and zoning also comes into the picture. Cities and towns need to design for walking and biking in the first place. Places which have been designed for the car need to be retrofitted so that they are more friendly to people who can't drive.
- Our transportation system can encourage more physical activity by making the sustainable and healthy choice the easy choice. This can be done by creating environments that support and encourage people to choose to walk or bike to work, the grocery store, pharmacy, library, etc. Integrating traffic-calming strategies to existing infrastructure, like painting bike lanes, supporting bike boulevards, bike racks, maintaining sidewalk networks, having on-street parking etc. Also, implementing policies that make it less feasible to drive like higher rates to park, increased transit service, etc.
- Increase and improve bike lanes, facilities for biking and walking. Get MnDOT's engineers educated about what good facilities are and how to design them.