Livable Streets Are Good for Health in the Heartland, Too

399503445_55d8419bf0.jpgThe roadscape in Nebraska, built for one thing only. Photo by jWiltshire via Flickr.

The health benefits of livable streets don’t always get enough attention. Today on the Streetsblog Network, we’ve got a story from Missouri Bicycle News about a new study from the St. Louis University School of Public Health documenting how the health of people in rural communities suffers for the lack of biking and pedestrian infrastructure:

Nearly half of the participants reported lack of sidewalks on most streets and stated they felt unsafe from traffic while walking or biking. Those who expressed concerns about traffic safety also were more likely to be obese, the study found.

If you want to drill deeper on the connection between sustainable transportation and public health, download the PDF of a report from the American Public Health Association entitled "At the Intersection of Public Health and Transportation: Promoting Healthy Transportation Policy."

We’ve also got a cool virtual tour of the future streetcar system in Forth Worth, plus an action alert on a petition drive to "Keep the Stimulus Clean" from Friends of the Earth. And, as always, much, much more.

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  • Shemp

    You guys may want to work on your laugh-tests and cultural versatility a bit more before making big statements about photos like the one above. Should the NE State DOT really swoop into unpopulated places with sidewalks, bikeways and bus service? What would be wrong with walking down the edge of a deserted rural dirt road as is? Would it be that terrible on a mountain bike? There’s probably a reason they haven’t bothered to pave it.

  • John Deere

    Yeah, this has got to be the dumbest post of the year on what has become an increasingly whiny streetsblog. What is this road built for: driving, moving farm equipment, hauling grain to market, moving cattle between pastures, walking, and biking. It can do all of that (unless you live in streetsblog’s alternative universe). 30 years ago, I grew up on a farm road like this, and somehow managed to bike, walk, ride horseback to our pastures, fields, and neighbors without Streetsblog’s help. It’s got traffic density of say, one vehicle an hour. Do you guys who post this stuff on streetsblog actually *ever* ride bikes on roads that don’t have bike lanes? I have to wonder, because the “party line” here has been that a road only becomes bikeable once there’s a special marking for bikes. Makes you wonder how people actually rode bicycles before streetsblog came along. I’d love to bike on a road like this (except for the occasional dusting). My relatives are farmers in Nebraska, and they go for casual walks on roads like this. Oh, and did you know that the longest planned rail-trail in the USA is in Nebraska?
    Oh, and let’s not to mention the complete lack of being in touch with basic reality here: does a lightly populated rural state like Nebraska have the tax base to put in a sidewalk and bike lane to every rural resident? Can most people bike to their jobs 20 – 30 miles away in some town every day?


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