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.