In a city that was built around cars and driving, walking is something we do to get to and from our cars. But if we told you that if 10% of adults began walking on a regular basis, $5.6 billion in heart disease costs would be averted, would you rethink walking? Not to mention the improved health experience of those adults.
With the support of National Health Foundation and Los Angeles Walks, the Jefferson High School Health Academy students have come together to bring walking (and biking!) back to Los Angeles and have created a walking corridor along Central Avenue in South Los Angeles. Their goal was clear: Have Angelenos fall in love with walking and reap the enormous health benefits. Twelve blocks along Central Ave., from 33rd to 45th streets, will be marked by clever wayfinding signs that will be unveiled in time for a celebratory walk scheduled for May 18th between 3:00 and 4:30 p.m.
The students led a community-based process to vote on designs and determine sign placement. The wayfinding signs give information on walking and biking times between various destinations, show connectivity between neighborhoods, and celebrate community history and assets. Equally important, they encourage walking and change perceptions that many places are too distant to get to on foot. These wayfinding signs will go a long way in help making the neighborhood’s public spaces more vibrant and active.
“Walking provides numerous health benefits and anything we can do to encourage our community to walk to their favorite shops, to the park, or even to downtown L.A., is going to create a positive impact. Programs such as these are bridging gaps in health in an innovative and accessible way. We salute the students on this accomplishment!” said National Health Foundation CEO, Kelly Bruno.
Of course, none of this could have been done without the support of many: Los Angeles Walks, National Health Foundation and its Health Academy program, Jefferson High School, Los Angeles Department of Public Health, Champions for Change, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets program, Councilman Curran D. Price, Jr., Council District 9, LADOT, The Youth Envisioned Streets Team (National Health Foundation, A Place Called Home, Coalition For Responsible Community Development, and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition), This South Central Neighborhood Council, IOBY, The Central Avenue Business Improvement District, Community Health Councils, and TRUST South LA.
For more information on the Walk This Way/Caminale event, please click HERE.