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Archive for January, 2010

Dan Burden speaks at the 2008 Sitka Health Summit

Dan Burden speaks at the 2008 Sitka Health Summit

One of the nation’s leading experts on walkable communities, Dan Burden, in December announced the creation of a new non-profit organization designed to teach community leaders and activists how to build walkable and livable communities.

The new group, the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute Inc., will be based in Port Townsend, Wash., which should make it fairly accessible for Alaska community leaders wanting to improve the design of their communities to be more friendly for biking and walking. Burden has been to Alaska several times, as a guest speaker on walkable and bikeable communities at the 2008 Sitka Health Summit and to work as a community planning consultant in Anchorage, Juneau, Homer and other Alaska communities. He also led the Hemistour Bicycle Expedition from Alaska to Argentina, a trek he photographed for National Geographic magazine.

Burden has played a key role in the creation of several other national biking and walking advocacy groups. He helped found and serves as executive director of Walkable Communities Inc. and he helped found Bikecentennial (which now is known as the Adventure Cycling Association). He also helped found the Bicycle Federation of America, which has as its biggest projects the National Center for Bicycling and Walking and the Active Living Resource Center. In the new group, Burden will be working with Sarah Bowman, who was a co-worker with Glatting, Jackson, Kercher, Anglin, Inc., the Florida-based community planning firm where Burden spent the past five years.

The Walkable and Livable Communities Institute info sheet (opens PDF file)

Guest speaker Dan Burden works with a physical activity breakout group during community planning sessions at the 2008 Sitka Health Summit

Guest speaker Dan Burden works with a physical activity breakout group during community planning sessions at the 2008 Sitka Health Summit

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The Alaska Public Health Association passed a series of resolutions at the Alaska Health Summit on Dec. 7-9 in Anchorage. One of the resolutions is about “improving health through transportation and land use policies” (link opens PDF file of resolution).

According to the resolution:

Transportation and land use policies are significant factors in the built environment and impact rates of injury and death due to traffic crashes, ease and safety of physical activity, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, and access to key community resources such as health care and healthy food. Transportation and land development patterns have historically favored automobile travel, spawned sprawling development, and have taken an unnecessary toll on human life.1

This resolution considers four major health impacts of transportation and land use policies that take the largest tolls on health, social equity, and the economy: (1) traffic injuries and fatalities, (2) physical activity and non-motorized transportation, (3) air and water quality, and (4) the disparate impact on vulnerable populations.

The five-page resolution (two pages are study citations) recommends more transportation funding for bicycle and pedestrian facilities, the use of the Complete Streets model when designing new streets, removing barriers for biking and walking while keeping bikers and walkers safe from motorized traffic, etc. The resolution also recommends involving community members more when planning improvements to a community, and it also recommends using Health Impact Assessments when planning to make sure a community’s health is part of the planning. To read the full resolution, click the link below to download a PDF file.

ALPHA Resolution 2009-02 Improving Health through Transportation and Land Use Policies

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