SOURCE: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health RENEW LA County Initiative

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health RENEW LA County Initiative

August 18, 2011 18:44 ET

Baldwin Park Recognized for Strongest "Complete Streets" Policy in the Nation

City Council Passes Policy That Will Make Streets and People Healthier

BALDWIN PARK, CA--(Marketwire - Aug 18, 2011) - Baldwin Park has received national recognition for passing the most comprehensive "Complete Streets" policy in the country. Baldwin Park bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit users will all experience safer and more accessible streets after the City Council unanimously passed the policy last night.

Complete Streets policies establish design guidelines that cities can use to create safe places for residents to walk and bike, and increase physical activity and access to transit -- making neighborhoods more connected and making cities better places to live.

"The policy shows a real commitment to creating quality streets that are responsive to community needs and safe for everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or how they travel," said Stefanie Seskin of the National Complete Streets Coalition. "The clear implementation steps and best practice performance measures guarantee action."

Already a leader in healthy city policies, including a nutrition standards policy that offers healthy snacks and beverages in vending machines on city property and in city programs, the Complete Streets policy demonstrates the City of Baldwin Park's continued commitment to the built environment and building a healthier overall community.

In addition to providing a more inviting and safe place for residents, Complete Streets help people get active: one study found that 43 percent of people with safe places to walk within 10 minutes of home met recommended activity levels; among those without safe places to walk just 27 percent met the recommendation. In addition, residents are 65 percent more likely to walk in a neighborhood with sidewalks.

"The success of this policy is a true testament of how the engagement of more than 300 residents led to the passage of this policy," said Maria Gonzalez, a resident leader of the Baldwin Park Resident Advisory Committee. "This process allowed for a better relationship between the city and residents to address the issues of walkability and access to physical activity."

Baldwin Park city officials worked closely with the Baldwin Park Resident Advisory Committee, Baldwin Park Unified School District, California Center for Public Health Advocacy, Ryan Snyder and Associates, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health's RENEW LA County initiative to develop the policy.

"Complete Streets improve health by providing safe and accessible connections between residences, schools, parks, public transportation, offices and retail destinations, which also help local businesses thrive," said Suzanne Bogert, MS, RD, project director for RENEW LA County.

For more information on healthy changes happening in communities throughout LA County, connect with Choose Health LA online, which represents all of the public health efforts of RENEW LA County. Visit Choose Health LA on Twitter @ChooseHealthLA, on Facebook and at ChooseHealthLA.com.

About RENEW LA County
The LA County Department of Public Health's RENEW (Renew Environments for Nutrition, Exercise and Wellness) initiative seeks to improve nutrition, increase physical activity and reduce obesity in LA County. RENEW LA County is made possible by a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative.

About LA County Department of Public Health
The LA County Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises more than 4,000 employees and an annual budget exceeding $750 million. To learn more about Public Health, visit publichealth.lacounty.gov, visit the YouTube channel at youtube.com/lapublichealth, find Public Health on Facebook at facebook.com/lapublichealth, or follow Public Health on Twitter: LAPublicHealth.