From its initial narrow focus on increasing biking and walking to school in one suburban neighborhood of Sacramento, C.A., a community partnership has now expanded its goals to include promoting the creation of Complete Streets, streets safe for all users of all abilities, including pedestrians, bikers, motorists and transit users, throughout Sacramento County. The result is community-wide awareness of pedestrian and bike safety issues, as well as considerable change to development policies and the physical environment.
In the past, Sacramento had been cited as one of the 12 worst U.S. cities for air pollution and smog; motor vehicle emissions were problematic; and most children got to school in cars. Thus, increasing walking and biking to school was identified as a good way to meet numerous public health and development concerns. Under this Active Living by Design (ALdB) grant, the Partnership for Active Communities initially set out a five-year plan to strengthen support for walking and bicycling through modest staff support for appropriate school programs, part time review of land-use development projects, and coordination of members of the partnership.
The initial five-year plan and ALbD funding provided a stable framework for the Sacramento partnership to refine its mission and establish itself. Based on its early success, the partnership is now advocating for early review of development projects in all jurisdictions, accelerating efforts to complete a pedestrian-bicycle network and expanding its Safe Routes to School programs.