Does Your Hospital Make Accommodations for Smoking But Not Bicycling?

Recognizing their responsibility to address the chronic health problems plaguing the nation, a lot of hospitals are making internal changes to avoid contributing to unhealthy choices. The Cleveland Clinic, for example, recently banished McDonald’s from its food court. But even that hospital, like many, many others, has been slow to consider how its physical layout abets sedentary lifestyles.

This aerial photo shows Southcoast Health Hospital in Fairhaven, Massachusetts -- a massive sea of car parking, but not a single bike rack. Image: Miles Grant
Southcoast Health Hospital in Fairhaven, Massachusetts — a massive sea of car parking, but not a single bike rack. Image via Miles Grant

With enormous parking garages and unwalkable, single-use campuses, hospitals too often typify the kind of unhealthy design condemned by the Surgeon General last week.

Miles Grant at Network blog The Green Miles points out a great example in a town on the south coast of Massachusetts:

The other day I rode my bike to my local medical facility, Southcoast Health in Fairhaven, to get blood drawn for my annual physical. While it has a massive parking lot for somewhere around 500 vehicles, Southcoast Health in Fairhaven doesn’t have even one bicycle rack.

But it does have a picnic table outside of its back door for smoke breaks.

It’s a small thing, but you’d think a health care facility with a massive parking lot could at least set up some racks for people to lock their bikes too.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Greater City Providence ponders how car dependence affects social connections in smaller cities. Vibrant Bay Area explores how school choice affects transportation costs. And Bike Portland reports on a new app that will crowdsource street conditions reported by cyclists into a master map.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

How Seattle Children’s Hospital Took the Lead on Healthy Transportation

|
It’s more than a little ironic that in many places, hospitals are some of the worst offenders when it comes to perpetrating unhealthy transportation patterns. Often surrounded by enormous parking decks, hospitals have earned a reputation as isolated institutions hermetically sealed off from surrounding neighborhoods. But that’s beginning to change. Healthcare providers are undergoing a fundamental shift from focusing on […]

Shoup to O’Toole: The Market for Parking Is Anything But Free

|
We’re reprinting this reply [PDF] from UCLA professor Donald Shoup, author of the High Cost of Free Parking, to Randal O’Toole, the libertarian Cato Institute senior fellow who refuses to acknowledge the role of massive government intervention in the market for parking, and the effect this has had on America’s car dependence. It’s an excellent […]

Curb Appeal

|
Alan Durning is the executive director of Sightline. This post is #15 in the Sightline series, Parking? Lots! Imagine if you could put a meter in front of your house and charge every driver who parks in “your” space. It’d be like having a cash register at the curb. Free money! How much would you collect? Hundreds […]

TIGER V a Shot in the Arm for Livable Streets in Cities and Small Towns

|
Out of 585 applications, U.S. DOT has chosen 52 transportation projects in 37 states to receive TIGER awards totaling $474 million. The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program was originally an element of President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package. Although it hasn’t been reauthorized and many Republicans claim to hate it, funding somehow keeps being appropriated for […]

Transport U: Stanford Turns Green Commuting Into Greenbacks

|
This is the second installment in Streetsblog’s series on transportation demand management at American colleges and universities. Part one gave an overview of TDM techniques that schools employ. This post looks at how Stanford University has used TDM to reduce driving and realize huge savings in the process. Stanford graduate engineering student Matthew Haith made […]