Coupling growth with a national push and community-driven action
Picture it! Sidney Nebraska identified a desire of residents to live in a community that prioritizes walking, biking, and overall health. With this increasing population of younger families, it has become critical that community leaders figure out how to ensure their city Masterplan includes walking and biking (normally not included in a planning process that prioritizes the car).
Thanks to support from the CDC through the Nebraska Walkable communities Project, they’ve begun a planning process, where 25+ participants joined together in October 2015 to create their community-driven plan to increase walking, biking, and overall health within Sidney. The Surgeon General’s Call-to-action has created a platform to illustrate how Sidney is positioning itself to be at the front of activity in this area, and the plans created with community support compliment the drivers within the national push.
Building on this momentum, the Sidney Walkable Communities Leadership team has:
- Become more formalized (with city adoption) as the Sidney Active Living Advisory Committee, helping ensure the city’s planning process includes representation from walking and biking advocates;
- Created a revised trail map and new trail signage to help people who walk and bike better understand and utilize the existing trail network;
- Created other opportunities to promote walking and biking to residents by building partnerships with existing events around the communities (like health fairs, chamber presentations, engaging businesses, and National Walk at Lunch Day); and,
- Hosted a state-wide complete streets training (June 2016) designed to teach people the concepts, the value, and how to talk about the policy benefits with a variety of constituents.
“This is just the beginning of our work as our next focus is looking at changing policies,” says Jessica Davies, Assistant Health Director of the Panhandle Public Health District and the primary lead for the project. “Using the community-driven process to create our action plans has positioned us for success that engages a variety of community leaders and stakeholders and thanks to the Surgeon General’s call-to-action, we are able to help position Sidney to lead the way in helping our country increase the number of people walking.”
Stay tuned to #WalkNE for future successes from this leading community helping to increase walking for Sidney residents and across Nebraska as a whole.