Community Layouts Discourage Walking

25 02 2008

An article from Asheville, NC addresses the problems of a community layout that discourages walking. These problems are prevalent in Duluth as well.

“Experts on land use, transportation and health say the scarcity of inviting facilities for walking or bicycling in many neighborhoods across the country is one of several causes of the nation’s obesity epidemic.”

2859202-r1-005-1_1.jpgPaths can be a strong incentive for people to walk for exercise, pleasure or just to get from one place to another, said Sam Zizzi, who teaches sports and exercise psychology in West Virginia University’s School of Physical Education and participated in the study.

“There’s really starting to be very strong evidence that if you link meaningful places in people’s lives — home to work, home to school, school to a store — (with pedestrian facilities), many people … will make choices to walk to get there,” Zizzi said.”

“A study of new greenway paths in the area around Morgantown, W.Va., found that 23 percent of the people using the trails hadn’t been exercising before.”

“Dessauer applauds weight-loss campaigns like Lighten Up 4 Life, but he says the campaigns raise the question of how short-term weight loss can be converted into long-term changes in lifestyle, including getting more exercise.

If an individual says, ‘I’m going to change my habits and get exercise,’ can they do that in Asheville and Buncombe County?” he asked.

For many Americans, exercising means “you have to pull on your Spandex, and you have to sweat in front of a mirror. … You drive to a gym, work out, shower, then drive home or to work,” he said.

That is less inviting for many people than just stepping out their front door at home to walk or walking on their lunch break, he said.”

…And, that’s exactly what DATA wants to create!

Full Article here: http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080224/NEWS01/80223072

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2 responses

25 02 2008
samh

Have any of you ever tried to walk around near the mall in Duluth? Ha! Good luck! My girlfriend and I needed to run an errand to both Target, Best Buy a nearby tire store and get some lunch last winter so left the car at the tire place and proceeded to walk to the other shops. We encountered one intersection that actually had signs informing pedestrians they weren’t allowed to cross the street! It was a picture of a walking person with a circle and line through it – you know the type. Her and I always joke around now when we see that sign and say things like “no humans allowed” or some such similar.

25 02 2008
datadirt

I’ve done the same Sam – It’s ridiculous! It will take a lot to change this mindset, but we’ve got to start somewhere!

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