Walking, biking improve the health of York community

1048931_605482396150886_1287821938_oIncreased walking and biking improves health. It improves the physical health of people, environmental health due to lower gas emissions, the health of personal economy through lower fuel costs.  

However, many people do not walk or bike within York, citing safety as the number one deterrent. Adult and youth bicyclists state that sharing the road with motor vehicles is a frightening prospect. Parents within York drive their children a few blocks to school due to concerns for child safety: unmarked cross walks, narrow sidewalks, fast traffic and stranger/bully danger.

Within York, the Eat Play Breathe York Transportation Task Force has made strides to improve biking and walking infrastructure. In August 2012, a Complete Streets Policy was adopted by the city.

Complete streets are roadways and walkways designed to safely accommodate all users, such as motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, mass transit and emergency responders. Corresponding infrastructure improvements have been and continue to be implemented thanks to grant funding awarded to the YMCA of York County and the York City Bureau of Health.

Such improvements include the King Street bike lane (2011) and the shared lane markings on Philadelphia Street (2012). This summer, additional shared lanes markings and bike lanes will be added. Also, new crosswalks will be marked along the walking routes from five city schools to the new Hope Street Garden and Learning Lab. Signage and walking maps — funded by a Safe Routes to Schools grant awarded to Lincoln Charter School — and police and community patrol will improve the safety for youth and community members who utilize the pathways. Last year, thanks to a similar grant, York City Schools developed the Go Safe walking corridor between all public schools.

Eat Play Breathe York has been fortunate to secure the above listed funds. However, they are not enough to continue the work required to make our entire city safe for walking and biking. Senate Bill 1, currently before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, could provide much-needed funding for walking and bicycling pathways in communities around the state, such as York. The proposed $2.5 billion transportation-funding plan would include a first-ever state investment in making our roads and communities safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The Eat Play Breathe York Transportation Task Force consists of many government, school, community and private business partners working together to improve the health of those who live, work, play and learn in our city. We ask that you consider sending a message to local legislators asking for their support of the funding plan. Below are various links to easily submit a an email to our legislators.

American Heart Association-Support a More Active PA 
Walk and Ride PA
PA Walks and Bikes

If you are interested in becoming involved in our transportation improvement efforts, please contact Shaun Underkoffler, York City Bureau of Health, sunderko@yorkcity.org or Cori Strathmeyer, YMCA of York County, cstrathmeyer@yorkcoymca.org.

Current Bike Routes and Facilities in York City

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One Response to Walking, biking improve the health of York community

  1. Cori Strathmeyer says:

    The bill, as it was passed by the committee today, includes $2 million in dedicated funding for bike and pedestrian initiatives. It will be debated on the House floor on Saturday. Be sure to let your representative know you support this funding.

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