Kentucky Heart Foundation receives grant to advocate
for complete streets
The Kentucky Heart Foundation, in partnership
with the Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Coalition and ACHIEVE initiative,
recently received a $10,000 grant from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky to
advocate for complete streets in Boyd and Greenup counties.
Streets are important to the livability of
our communities and should accommodate everyone, whether young or old, motorist
or bicyclist, walker or wheelchair user, bus rider or merchant. Unfortunately,
many of our streets are designed only for fast-moving vehicles.
In communities across the country and here in
eastern Kentucky, a movement is growing to complete the streets, to allow
pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and
abilities to move along and across them. Complete streets enable safe access
for all users.
“We are not asking for a sidewalk to be built
on every street,” said Regina Stout, executive director of the Kentucky Heart
Foundation. “We are simply asking planners to consider both pedestrians and
cyclists when either building new roadways or when renovating old ones,” she
A National Conference of State Legislators
report found the most effective avenue for encouraging bicycling and walking is
incorporating sidewalks and bike lanes into community design – essentially,
creating complete streets.
In considering complete streets, many factors
come into play, including what level of access is required in the area and the
feasibility of building one. Complete Street ordinances allow for flexibility
by evaluating each neighborhood and project individually, to ensure the most efficient
use of funds.
The grant funds will be used to advocate for
passage of Complete Streets ordinances in Ashland and Russell, Stout said.
Activities will include surveying city residents to garner their support for
complete streets and advocacy at city council meetings.
“Gathering support for a comprehensive
complete streets plan from local residents will be a crucial step when looking
to influence policymakers,” according to Holly West, Ashland-Boyd County Health
Department educator and leader of the ACHIEVE Complete Streets workgroup. “We
need to show that city residents are in favor of complete streets.”
According to a recent Kentucky Health Issues
Poll, Eastern Kentucky residents reported the least access to walkable
communities, with fewer than three in 10 adults (28 percent) living in
communities with sidewalks and roadway shoulders that allow for safe walking,
jogging or biking.
The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky’s
mission is to address the unmet healthcare needs of Kentucky, by developing and
influencing health policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and
disparities and promoting health equity.
The Kentucky Heart Foundation is a non-profit
organization affiliated with King’s Daughters Heart & Vascular Center that
joins healthcare provider efforts to address heart and vascular disease in our
region. The area served by the KHF includes a 29-county region in northeastern
Kentucky, southern Ohio and western West Virginia. To learn more, visit us on
the web at kyheartfoundation.com
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