Healthy Savannah and YMCA Work to Improve Safety for People Walking and Biking

 
SAVANNAH, Ga. - Aug. 1, 2021 - PRLog -- 12 Savannah Communities Tapped for Initiative Funded by Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health Grant.

(SAVANNAH, GA) Nearly 70% of the more than 700 miles of paved streets within the Savannah city limits lack sidewalks. That lack is considered a factor in the average of 168 crashes involving pedestrians that Savannah experiences each year. Adding to those concerns is the fact that students are now preparing to return to in-person learning at school after an absence of nearly 16 months, which means students soon will be walking or biking to class alongside drivers who are now unaccustomed to their presence.

To help create safer neighborhoods for people walking and biking, Healthy Savannah (https://healthysavannah.org/) and the YMCA of Coastal Georgia (https://ymcaofcoastalga.org/) are leading an initiative that will eventually impact a dozen neighborhoods throughout the Savannah area. Development of the first "Activity-Friendly Routes to Everyday Destinations Neighborhood Plan" is underway in the Edgemere/Sackville community, and eleven other neighborhoods will be engaged in the next few years.

Organizers, neighbors and community members are walking neighborhoods to identify barriers such as a lack of sidewalks, cracked pavement, inaccessible intersections and poor shade due to lack of tree canopies. The effort is among those funded by a five-year, $3.4 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control which was awarded to Healthy Savannah and the YMCA of Coastal Georgia. The grant, known by the acronym REACH for Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/state-local-programs/re...), addresses root causes of inequities in health status among racial and ethnic minorities.

According to a March report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (https://www.ghsa.org/), Georgia was among seven states that accounted for more than half (54%) of all pedestrian deaths during the first six months of 2020. The report also verified that even though driving nationwide declined due to the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. pedestrian fatalities rose by 20 percent compared to the previous year, with Blacks, Hispanics and Asians disproportionately killed in pedestrian-vehicle crashes. The data also suggested low-income communities, which are home to many people of color, often lack sidewalks, streetlights and crosswalks, and those shortfalls likely contribute to pedestrian deaths.

Turner says the Healthy Savannah and YMCA team members may offer assistance to other community members wishing to utilize the Activity Friendly Routes to Everyday Destinations Neighborhood Plan in their neighborhoods. This includes access to an app that volunteers can use to easily map the safety barriers. The organizers are also providing volunteers with items ranging from T-shirts to water bottles and hats. For more information, contact Armand Turner at armand.turner@ymcaofcoastalga.org

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Tags:Pedestrian Safety
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Location:Savannah - Georgia - United States
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