Yesterday, the U.S. Surgeon General launched a new nationwide Call to Action to help Americans be healthier by making walking and physical activity a bigger part of their daily lives.
The event recognized physical activity as one of the nation’s highest health priorities. And as Dr. Murthy explained yesterday, building communities where it is safe and convenient to walk, bike, or wheelchair roll is part of the solution.
Congress is about to have a critical opportunity to take action on this issue. Legislators are currently working on a multiyear federal transportation bill which will shape communities and transportation programs for years to come. As representatives negotiate the bill in the coming weeks, will they prioritize walkable communities?
Tell your Representative to listen to the Surgeon General: Make walkable communities a priority in the next federal transportation bill.
The Senate passed their version of this bill in July and included several important provisions that support walkable development. Notably, the Safe Streets Act, TIFIA financing for transit-oriented development, and protection of the TIGER grants program at the U.S. Department of Transportation were all included in the Senate’s bill.
Given the Surgeon General’s Call to Action, the House of Representatives should make walkable communities an even bigger priority in their version of the bill.
In too many communities, walking is inconvenient or even dangerous. This is particularly true for low-income families and people of color. Walking should be safe and convenient for everyone, not just those who can afford it.
Obesity, heart disease, and diabetes are not the only problems caused by unwalkable streets. Pedestrian deaths are also an epidemic, and thousands of people are struck by cars and killed each year while walking along America’s roads. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation has also made this a top priority with the Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets, further underlining this issue’s urgency.
Building more walkable communities can help Americans lead healthier, longer lives. Tell your Representatives to listen to the Surgeon General and support walking in the next transportation bill.