Walking or biking instead of driving a vehicle is a quality of life issue, according to information from representatives of the PedNet Coalition, Columbia, Mo. and the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team.
The two cited benefits in a non-motorized transportation plan report presented to the Fort Scott City Commission and then the Uniontown City Council Tuesday evening.
Other benefits cited by Abby St. George, PedNet technical assistant officer, are improved health and health care costs, reduced transportation costs and boosting economic development.
St. George and Jody Hoener, Mercy Clinic Quality and Community Benefit Liaison, presented the report.
Half of the children who live within one-half mile, a 10-minute walk or less from school, are driven, according to Safe Routes to School
National Partnership, and presented in the report to the City of Fort Scott.
Here is an excerpt from the report:
“Many adult residents are also making trips in their automobiles that could be made by foot or bicycle. For example, of trips that are less than one mile, over two-thirds are taken by private automobile (League of American Bicyclists, 2010). The automobile is a wonderful device that allows us to travel to destinations our great-grandparents may have never thought possible, but its overuse, especially for short distances, is leading to severe health consequences.
Obesity truly has become an epidemic in the United States,” according to the report.
Summarizing the Fort Scott Non-Motorized Transportation Plan improvement costs: sidewalk priority projects are estimated to be $1,731,842; U.S. Hwy 69 Trail Priority Project -$1,964,444; on-street priority projects -$330,300; with total costs estimated to be $4,026,586.
Uniontown’s Non-Motorized Transportation Plan is basically one sidewalk that leads from the two schools to the convenience store.
Costs for an ADA accessible sidewalk from the schools on the east side of Uniontown to Union Station convenience store on the west side of town are estimated to be just over $50,000.
Crosswalk improvements for the sidewalk are estimated to be $44,000, with a total cost of the recommendations-$97,420.
A grant through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas allowed The City of Fort Scott and The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team to develop a Fort Scott Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan.
Healthy Bourbon County Action Team’s goal is to, “engage key stakeholders in areas where our community members spend most of their time–where they eat, work and play. The focus on physical activity, healthy eating, and tobacco cessation directly affect outcomes of our identified community health needs, ”according to the report.
The governing bodies will now need to find funding avenues for the recommended non-motorized transportation projects, but PedNet provided them with four and one-half pages of federal, state, local, non-profit and private funding opportunities.
St. George noted that with the plans completed, it could add points to a grant application.
To see the breakdown and details of the recommendations: