Encinitas implements WalkSanDiego plan

ENCINITAS — On Dec. 19, the Encinitas City Council took a step forward in promoting the health, fitness and safety of the community’s youth and other residents. The council unanimously approved a contract with WalkSanDiego to conduct public outreach activities and prepare an Encinitas “Let’s Move” Pedestrian Travel and Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Plan.The $210,450 contract is funded by a federal Community-Based Transportation Planning (CBTP) grant of $183,000, augmented by the city’s matching funds of $27,450. The two-year project is being conducted under the auspices of the city’s Public Works/Engineering Services Department. The two-year Let’s Move project is getting off the ground in January 2013. Workshops and other outreach activities, including a project web page, will be coming soon. Details on the project can be found here.

More information will be available on the City’s website and in future issues of this newsletter over the next several months. For specific questions, contact Associate Civil Engineer Christy Villa at cvilla@encinitasca.gov.

The plan features a community-wide effort. In addition to city staff and WalkSanDiego, it involves local schools within the city, neighborhood coalitions of each of the five Encinitas communities, a taskforce of stakeholders, including representatives from CalTrans and the Sheriff’s Department, and the general public. The goal is to promote active public engagement that will lead to a plan that identifies infrastructure improvements needed throughout Encinitas, with an emphasis on school zones.

Encinitas Senior Civil Engineer Ed Deane said, “The project has two major components: infrastructure and outreach.”

The plan will:

— Identify infrastructure improvements that enhance safety for students and other residents who walk to schools, recreation centers, libraries, transit stops and other destinations throughout Encinitas.

— Educate, advocate for and celebrate a walkable/bikable community.

Deane said, “As a nonprofit acclaimed for its active role in making communities more walkable, and its demonstrated success in other communities in the region, WalkSanDiego will be an exceptional partner and consultant for our ambitious endeavor.”

“Our Cardiff program, culminating in a ‘Walk or Bike to School Celebration Day,’ was enthusiastically embraced by students, families and staff,” said WalkSanDiego Program Director Leah Stender. Full bike racks attest to the program’s success.”

One primary impetus for the Encinitas-wide program is health. Over the past several decades, physical activity among children in the U.S. has decreased while obesity and related diseases such as Type 2 diabetes have increased.

According to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, today approximately 17 percent (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents ages 2-19 are obese; nearly triple the number of 1980. In 1969, 50 percent of children walked or biked to school. Today, only 15 percent do so.

Information on the group’s Safe Routes for Seniors, apps for residents to rate the walkability of their streets and other programs are on its Web site.

 

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