“The thing that keeps us passionate and motivated about
this work is the focus on equity and social justice,” says
Schumann when talking about Seattle. “There are so many
communities that have been left out, and the amenities
that some neighborhoods enjoy isn’t the reality for a lot of
people. Providing the basic infrastructure so that people
can safely walk their kids to school or walk for enjoyment
and exercise is a basic human right. We focus on bringing
attention to this need and distributing the funding fairly.”
It’s hard to believe that something so easy — walking 30
minutes a day — can provide so many astonishing community, physical and mental health benefits. The fact
that it can also offer social justice to communities is an
equally important aspect.
So, what are you waiting for — get out there and walk!
Tracey C. Velt is freelance writer who specializes in
the real estate industry. She has more than 25 years
of experience writing for industry publications.
rail station, says Quinn. The project supports a Safe
Route to School that includes a Walking School Bus.
It has also improved the overall health and connection
of the neighborhood, according to Quinn.
Another organization that aims to provide a voice
for walking and walkable communities with federal
agencies is America Walks, a 501(c)( 3) nonprofit
“We opened another round of micro grants in October to fund small interventions in communities around
the country,” says Kate Kraft, executive director of
The grants, about $1,500 each, provide communities with assistance so they can develop a community
engagement strategy or organize a rally to jumpstart a
“We’ve done a lot of work in the state of Iowa with a
statewide walking effort,” says Kraft, who notes that
they’ve also worked in the San Francisco region passing Complete Streets policies.
Local governments are also trying to effect change.
Schumann and her team frequently work with jurisdictions to strengthen healthy language in comprehensive
and local plans.
“We help them update their guiding documents that
set the tone for the city, so it moves forward with transportation, parks and rec and roads on the same page,
thinking about walking and biking.”
She also works with transportation planners to change
the focus from moving the most number of cars through
an area to building complete streets and adding mobility to move people, rather than cars, through areas.
“A few years ago, we worked with Seattle on a pedestrian
master plan that included health data from the health
department to provide a more collaborative, comprehensive plan,” Schumann says.
The truth is that the benefits of walking and physical activity can’t be ignored and communities know it.
Many housing sites now offer walk scores (walkscore.
com) that show how easy it is to walk to stores and restaurants from the house.
The benefits of walking and
physical activity can’t be ignored.