During another successful Tour de Jefferson, it was exciting and encouraging to see hundreds of bike riders take to the streets and safely engage in family-friendly, physical activity. Every opportunity for people to exercise helps them to meet their fitness goals and improve their overall health and wellness. It is now more important than ever that people focus on their health. At the American Heart Association, we are committed to our mission of being a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. One of our priority areas is working with local communities to adopt a comprehensive Complete Streets policy.
This policy ensures that street infrastructure projects are designed and developed with safety, equity, and accessibility at its core. Complete Streets benefit everyone whether you are walking, biking, driving, or using transit. These streets built to share ™ will promote physical activity and healthier communities. Sidewalks that connect to parks, protected bike lanes, and streets that accommodate all people will allow people to safely be active and improve our quality of life.
At the onset of the COVID pandemic, the Jefferson Parish Complete Streets Coalition was preparing to host the first annual Walk to Lunch Day in the Metairie area. This program was to highlight the benefits of safe and accessible transportation options that provide walkable communities, promote health, and stimulate economic development. Creating a pedestrian-friendly design with connected walkways as well as business locator maps and mileage trackers would encourage people to walk to area restaurants and establishments and provide greater exposure for local businesses. We are working toward rescheduling this event as we resume our work in this area.
We realize that the road to healthier neighborhoods literally begins with a better road. We are not getting the recommended amount of daily physical activity and our health results are reflective of this reality. The development of a comprehensive Complete Streets policy will eliminate barriers and increase opportunities to be active. If you want to support our work in this area, please reach out to me at Rica.Trigs@heart.org . Let’s work together to adopt and implement a policy that fully addresses the infrastructure and processes that will contribute to a Healthier Jefferson.
Written by Rica Trigs
Community Advocacy Director, American Heart Association