Wagner and Alicia Brown with WALKSacramento Coordinated by: Sophia Mercado and Emily Piltch California Department of Public Health Center for Healthy Communities Nutrition Education & Obesity Prevention Branch Center for Healthy Communities 1
recorded. The webinar recording will be provided to participants once available. •Questions and Answers (Q&A) –Questions and comments are encouraged! Enter questions into the chat feature at any time. –We will have plenty of time for Q&A right after the presentation is completed.
Streets Public Space is essential for all people. “Slow streets” or “stay healthy streets” are streets and routes that prioritize street space for pedestrians and bicyclists and limit vehicle traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic. Slow streets are not intended to go against public health orders or encourage large crowds or gatherings but rather relieve crowded areas to support health department guidance for physical distancing. Any initiative must prioritize - The needs of those most vulnerable - Access to jobs for essential workers and access to essential services
Support the Covid-19 Public Health Crisis? Public and Personal Health Closing streets lessens the burden on parks and trails and provides public space for residents where green space is limited to safely access essential jobs, goods and services, and exercise for physical and mental health. Slow streets also help us combat another more familiar public health crisis: the chronic diseases caused by inactivity. Progress Toward Long-term Climate and Community Health Goals One of the few “silver linings” of COVID-19 shelter in place orders are “cleaner pandemic skies”. This has allowed everyone to see just how big of a toll transportation emissions take on the air quality of communities, especially underinvested communities where air pollution is often the highest. Support for Local Businesses Fully or partially closing streets encourages active travel along those routes due to reduced vehicle traffic and speeds. With more people walking and biking now than ever before, closing streets along corridors to essential businesses, such as food distribution sites and medical sites not only provides safe access to these destinations, but also encourages residents to support these businesses
on change.org Residents began a petition on change.org to gain initial interest in fully or partially slowing streets in Sacramento. WALKSacramento and Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates joined forces to launch the Slow Streets Campaign Provided clear steps and resources for residents and organizations to get involved including: • Linking to a citizen-led petition and downloadable template letters to councilmembers for residents and businesses • Conducted conversations with community leaders across the City, focusing on disadvantaged communities • Developed a Community survey to further hear from residents about feedback on initiative. • Authored a Letter to City Council identifying clear needs and ways to take action and offered solutions for how we can help.
Now - The Transportation Staff responded positively and has reserved funds to implement slow streets for up to three streets - The Transportation staff has invited WALKSacramento and SABA to partner on the initiative - Conversations with communities about effective strategies are happening Ongoing Challenges - We have limited funds - Prioritizing Community engagement = longer implementation timelines - Communities are becoming harder to reach due to COVID-19 limitations Opportunities - A slower approach allows us to have essential conversations with communities to understand what transportation solutions and responses are needed and appropriate for different communities. - Slow streets initiatives can prioritize food access, climate goals, and other essential needs in the short and long-term - Quick Implementation across the world proves that we can make big changes that support healthier communities with better access to essential needs
Community Need • The City wanted to prioritize disadvantaged communities – however, need to be intentional about not imposing something that is unwanted on overburdened communities • WALKSacramento and SABA leveraged existing relationships with communities to organize Zoom meetings with on-the-ground partners and neighborhood associations What We Heard... • Overall, partners understood the need for Slow Streets and expressed interest in the concept for their neighborhoods • Partners provided initial ideas on streets, as well as recommendations for how to further engage with residents • Additional surveying of residents would be needed to identify whether this is desirable and which streets would be best
10% Maybe 1% Other 3% WOULD YOU BE SUPPORTIVE OF A SLOW AND ACTIVE STREET BEING IMPLEMENTED ALONG A STREET IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD? 75% have seen more people walking and biking in the street 55% have seen more people speeding along their street Respondents see value in Slow Streets for slowing traffic speeds, creating more comfortable walking and biking environments, and improving access to essential businesses and services
can serve hyper-local needs of residents. Utilize existing programs and networks that provide essential services to ask about barriers to accessing those goods and services. Think Creatively. If slowing streets is not fully possible, how can you support pedestrian and bike access to food, medical, and other services? Balance quick implementation with thoughtful response. Build off of previous community engagement efforts to ensure that this is something that is needed and would be supported. Brainstorm additional ways to gather insights from residents, especially in hard-to-reach communities. More education is needed on what Slow Streets are and the benefits for COVID-19 response.