Plan4Health Nashua - Updates

New Partnership Begins Work to Support Health and Physical Activity in Nashua

From street mapping to community outreach, Plan4Health Nashua is hitting its stride with its work to support physical activity, health, and economic growth in Nashua communities. The Plan4Health Nashua program started earlier this year when it received a grant for $125,000 from the American Planning Association (APA) to support active transportation in Nashua. Its goal is to advance street planning and design that are safer and easier to get around for pedestrians and bicyclists.P4H Pic 1 

The grant was awarded to the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association (NNECAPA) as part of a 15-month program called “Plan4Health,” a new initiative led by APA’s Planning and Community Health Center program to improve capacity of planning and public health professionals. The NNECAPA is working in collaboration with the City of Nashua, Nashua Regional Planning Commission, New Hampshire Public Health Association (NHPHA), and Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL NH).This spring, the Greater Nashua Public Health Advisory Council officially endorsed the Plan4Health Nashua program as a community initiative included in Nashua’s 2015-2018 Community Health Improvement Plan. The program focuses on developing Complete Street guidelines that support equitable access to safe, healthy multi-modal transportation.

So what are Complete Streets aP4H Pic 2nd how can they support the physical and economic health of a community? Complete Streets support active living by providing more safe walking and bicycling paths, better fit the local neighborhood by considering where people want to go and how they want to get around, and support economic growth by making local businesses more accessible.

What do Complete Streets policies do? By adopting Complete Street practices, a community establishes a process for selecting, funding, planning, designing, and building transportation projects that allow safe access to destinations for everyone, regardless of age, ability, income, or ethnicity, and no matter how they travel. These policies provide opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to contribute to, and benefit from, a livable community. More than 700 U.S. towns, cities, counties, regions, and states have made official commitments to Complete Streets policies.

Benefits of Complete Streets include:

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Encourage healthy and active lifestyles among residents of all ages 

        ·       Boost the economy by attracting more area businesses, residents, and real estate development 
      
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Provide children with opportunities to walk and bike to school and other nearby destinations in a safe and supportive environment 

        ·       Encourage people, particularly those with disabilities and older adults, to get out and stay connected to the community

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Promote safety – sidewalks, raised medians, better bus stop placement, traffic-calming measures, and treatments for travelers with disabilities may reduce pedestrian risk by as much as 28%

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Ensure that all people, including those without a car or other transportation options, have equitable access to education, employment, religious and cultural institutions, physical activity, and friends and family

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Preserve resources for the next generation – Complete Streets help save money when switching from driving to biking/walking and can reduce carbon emissions
        
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Avoid expensive retrofits that might be necessary if Complete Streets guidelines were not considered in the planning stages
                                                                                                                     
Whether it’s planting trees or adding crosswalks, making travel lanes narrower or creating space for people on bikes, communities are changing how they approach the design and function of their streets to support good health and economic vitality.  More information about Plan4Health Nashua can be found online here.     Also, Smart Growth America is a great resource for Complete Streets information. 

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