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Tomorrow, Gina Arlotto (our Safe Routes to School Network Organizer) will be conducting a site visit with Dr. Keshia Pollock, Ph.D from Johns Hopkins University Department of Health Policy and Management to begin work on a Health Impact Assessment for a potential bike lane on a 2 mile stretch of Alabama Avenue in Southeast DC. This bike lane would connect two off-road bike trails–Oxon Run and Suitland Parkway–plus connect residents to three health care facilities, two full service grocery stores, nine schools, multiple recreation centers, and the Congress Heights metro station. Incorporating a Health Impact Assessment into our arsenal of advocacy tools makes sense as we already promote cycling as a healthy lifestyle activity, but getting the data we need to empower residents and decision-makers is crucial. The Health Impact Assessment process is increasingly being used to evaluate and analyze how our built environment impacts on our physical health. Creating more bike facilities in Wards 7 and 8 is a WABA priority as we try to keep the momentum in bicycle transportation going in DC.
This sort of facility–which creates a functional, affordable transportation alternative and can provide access to health care, food, schools, community buildings, and transit–is exactly the sort of facility that helps to build communities by providing car-free access to necessities and amenities, and enabling those without private vehicles a reliable connection to the transportation network and jobs.
We believe those are good enough reasons to implement such a bicycle facility. But we hope that Dr. Pollock’s analysis will make that case even stronger, and that the District will soon bring this facility to the current and future cyclists of Ward 8.
This project is part of WABA’s 2011 East of the Anacostia program. To learn more or to lend your support to the project, click here.