Creating safe spaces for walking and wheeling to school is just the start to helping create physical activity and healthy lifestyle opportunities in Jefferson County. In addition to Safe Routes to School (SRTS), community members can explore strategies to foster a healthy lifestyle in other ways, including advocating for access to and use of playgrounds, fields and gymnasiums that would otherwise not be open after schools; champion opportunities to make it safer and more convenient for people to walk, wheel or take transit to access healthy foods; and improve transportation access to parks and recreation.
School districts and municipal organizations increasingly see shared use agreements as a promising strategy to create opportunities for physical activity within a neighborhood or community. Making use of playgrounds, fields and gymnasiums that would otherwise not be open after hours for basketball games, Zumba, yoga classes or other types of activity allows for a more efficient use of public space, and is an inexpensive strategy to address childhood obesity, particularly in low-income communities.
Safe Routes to Parks is the National Recreation and Park Association’s (NRPA) campaign to implement environmental, policy and program strategies that create safe and equitable access to parks for all people. The NRPA Safe Routes to Parks Action Framework provides professionals with a “how-to” guide to implement Safe Routes to Parks strategies.