WalkWorks Program Grant
Southmont Borough has received grant funding through the WalkWorks Program to develop an Active Transportation Plan over the next year. WalkWorks is a collaboration between the Pennsylvania Downtown Center and the PA Department of Health. The funding is provided by the State Physical Activity and Nutrition Grant and the Preventative Health and Health Services Block Grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The borough is assembling a Steering Committee, collecting data, mapping out existing conditions, and getting public input. Stay tuned for opportunities to weigh in through a survey, interactive mapping, and a public forum.
Active transportation refers to walking, riding a bike or other micromobility device, using a wheelchair, or accessing transit to get to everyday destinations. Active transportation is or should be a regular part of everyone's day, but in many cases there are physical barriers to being able to get from place to place safely other than by driving. Planning for active transportation means look for ways to make communities safer, more accessible, and more connected along inviting networks of sidewalks, trails, shared use paths, and bike lanes. Every community is different and needs to develop an active transportation plan suited to its location, population, needs, and aspirations. When more people have more options for getting where they need to go safely, it makes for healthier communities, both reducing the risk of crashes and of chronic health conditions.
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For more information about WalkWorks, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shapiro Administration Awards Grant To Improve Pedestrian Networks, Boost Physical Activity
WalkWorks, a program of the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and the Pennsylvania Downtown Center, awarded nine communities in the Commonwealth with $210,000 in grants to assist in the development of Active Transportation Plans and increase physical activity by connecting local destinations with improved pedestrian, bicycle, and transit networks.
Grant recipients will work over the next year with transportation and community planners to collect data, assess current conditions and aspirations, and incorporate public input to craft the Active Transportation Plans. The program benefits from its partnership with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and its funding of two of the grant recipients.
"Moving our bodies is important to improving our overall health, helping to prevent stress and diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Walking is one of the easiest and most accessible ways to do that, and walking outside has the extra benefits of sunshine, fresh air, and taking in the beauty of nature - all of which are good for our physical and mental health," said Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Debra Brogen. "WalkWorks supports healthy communities by enabling more people to have the option of walking or biking to places they go every day."
"Creating roadmaps for improved walking and bicycling can help solve many challenges facing communities, including cleaner air, less noise and traffic congestion, and improving the health and quality of life for residents," DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. "DCNR is happy to work with the Department of Health and communities to create more trails that connect places, get people outdoors and active, and draw visitors who spend money."
Living in, working in, or visiting communities with safe, beautiful, functional, and accessible public spaces and streets means being able to use activity-friendly routes to get to key destinations. Opportunities like that help to increase physical activity and reduce obesity and chronic disease, which simultaneously improves individual health, expands economic vitality, and reduces health care costs.
This year's WalkWorks grants embody and acknowledge the connections and needed coordination between transportation policy and public health.
"Our goal is safe, accessible, and inviting transportation options for all, not just the fit and fearless. WalkWorks helps communities understand and apply safe streets for all principles to transportation planning around the Commonwealth," said Samantha Pearson, Healthy Communities Program Manager at the Pennsylvania Downtown Center and coordinator of the WalkWorks Program. "We are making strides in adjusting our surroundings to make them pro-access, pro-activity, and pro-health. Our collaboration can lead to healthier people, more resilient communities, safer streets and roads, and stronger local economies."
The grant recipients were selected from a pool of high-quality applicants by a multidisciplinary review team that included representatives from the Department of Health, the Pennsylvania Downtown Center, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the Department of Community and Economic Development.
The WalkWorks program is committed to expanding walkability, bikeability, accessibility, and connectivity to transit across Pennsylvania and encourages residents to incorporate activity-friendly routes into daily routines.
Funding for the grants is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under the Preventative Health and Health Services Block Grant program, as well as additional funding from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, for two of the awardees.
For more information about WalkWorks, visit the PA WalkWorks website.