Ensuring safe access to public parks is key to improving health outcomes in America, but not all communities are equipped with the resources needed to provide safe access to parks, such as investing in new sidewalks and crosswalks with personal safety improvements. A new Safe Routes to Parks Action Framework developed by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) in collaboration with the Safe Routes to School National Partnership provides evidence- and practice-based guidance to help local park and recreation agencies implement policies and practices that create safe and equitable access to parks for all people.
Adults living within a half-mile of a park visit parks and exercise more often. Proximity to parks is consistently related to better physical and mental health. Yet communities with the highest levels of obesity and lowest levels of physical activity have the least safe access to parks. As described in our report At the Intersection of Equity and Active Transportation, only 49 percent of low-income communities have sidewalks and low-income blacks and Latinos were twice as likely to be killed while walking. Safe access to parks is a right and a necessity for healthy communities.
Start engaging leaders and community members now in creating safe routes to parks by downloading the Safe Routes to Parks Action Framework at saferoutespartnership.org/resources/fact-sheet/safe-routes-parks-0