Let's make it safer and easier to access parks

Active Trans is working with municipalities across Chicagoland, advocating for safe park zone policies and street safety improvements around parks. Parks are an important part of promoting biking, walking and building healthy active communities.

With a growing obesity crisis in the country, parks are a key asset for public health that serve as a tool to promote physical activity and active living. 

The CDC recommends 20 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity for adults every day to prevent obesity-related illnesses. And we know that 30 percent of the people who exercise regularly in the U.S. are doing this in parks.

Using parks for recreation may also lead people to choose active transportation. For example, kids who live within half mile of a park are more likely to walk to school each day.

To highlight the need for improving traffic safety around parks, Active Trans recently partnered with the Healthy Kids Healthy Communities initiative to host a safe park zone summit in Humboldt Park, Chicago on Saturday November 10. It was wonderful to see a group of people from a variety of organizations from across the region collaborating on issues related to park safety and access.

Representatives from Lemont and Midlothian Park Districts shared their lessons learned developing and implementing safe park zone policies in their municipalities. A representative from the Chicago Department of Transportation shared the city’s plans to implement Safety Zones around parks.

The Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children provided a preview of the city’s Make Way for Play guide, a tool for planners and residents to design and advocate for safer streets around Chicago parks.

Want to make walking, biking and transit access to your park? Here are a couple of things you can do to get involved:

  1. Provide your feedback through the Make Way for Play mapping tool on how to make it easier and safer to travel to parks. 
  2. Join or create a Chicago Park Advisory Council to promote better access to a park near you. 

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