Linking the Built Environment and Public Health

The SvR team has spent the last couple of months working with seven cities in King County – Burien, Des Moines, Federal Way, Kent, Redmond, SeaTac, and Snoqualmie. Along with Public Health – Seattle & King County, SvR is assisting these cities in developing strategies to improve the built environment while affecting positive health outcomes within theirc communities. The work is being funded through the Center for Disease Control as part of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work program.The goal of this effort is to encourage healthy eating and active living within these communities. Many communities throughout the country are looking at healthy eating and active living policies including other cities in Washington State, Colorado, New Hampshire, California, and Missouri. SvR is teamed with Alta Planning + Design, CollinsWoerman, Martin and Sanders, and Triangle Associates. The SvR team is focusing on the connection between the built environment and health. Some strategies include increasing pedestrian and bicyclist connections and facilities, access to food, food choices, and access to parks and other recreation opportunities. Project deliverables for these communities range from Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning, Comprehensive Plan policy updates, and Food Access mapping.

Recently SvR, Alta Planning + Design, and CollinsWoerman visited Federal Way and Snoqualmie to further explore various neighborhoods with examples of existing conditions that the cities are proud of and areas that may need improvements to encourage active living. Visits to the other cities will be happening in February.

Federal Way – This intersection in Federal Way allows for pedestrian crossings between the two bus stops. The sidewalks provide connection to the adjacent residential and commercial area for pedestrians and transit riders. The SvR team is looking at opporunties to make similar improvements at other intersections. Photo: Alta Planning + Design

Snoqualmie – There is an active Safe Routes to School program in Snoqulamie. The City and the Snoqualmie Valley School District work together toidentify walking routes for students and their families. Many studies show that students who increase their physical activity throughout the day have improved health. Photo: SvR Design Company

SvR is also coordinating with Cascade Bicycle Club to incorporate complete street principles into future transportation planning efforts, Puget Sound Regional Council to identify existing pedestrian and bicycle facilites in these communities, and with the Bicycle Alliance of Washington to coordinate the efforts of the participating school districts.