The design of communities can impact health. For example, access to parks and greenspace improve air quality and promote exercise. The Atlanta Region’s Plan policies seek to better integrate public health impacts into the planning process through public safety, encouraging walking and bicycling, identifying opportunities for local food production and planning for the expansion of green infrastructure.
Better options for bicyclists and pedestrians
Bicycling and walking are critical transportation modes throughout the Atlanta region, and not just for short trips. When combined with public transit, walking or biking provides a viable option for many longer trips.
The Atlanta Regional Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan, Walk, Bike, Thrive! , envisions the completion of a regional-scale trail network, community scale walking and bicycling networks, and first- and last-mile connections to regional transit systems. The Atlanta Region’s Plan includes funding that will help bring this vision to reality.
The Atlanta Region’s Plan also includes the Safe Streets for Walking & Bicycling plan, which provides a range of strategies to reduce serious injuries and deaths. Safety measures that local governments can take to reduce injuries and deaths include:
- Installing medians and pedestrian crossings
- Enhancing crosswalk visibility
- Building and improving sidewalks
- Building separated bike lanes
- Changing speed limits
- Reducing number of lanes
- Improving and installing street lighting
- Installing traffic calming measures
Fostering lifelong communities
Better sidewalks provide exercise, access to services and opportunities to socialize.
ARC’s Lifelong Communities initiative helps guide efforts at the local level to create communities that meet the needs of residents of all ages and abilities. A Lifelong Community is a place that offers a variety of housing types and ways to get around that appeal to individuals both young and old, such as safe sidewalks, compact, low-maintenance housing options, and convenient access to shopping and transit.
ARC works with local government planners, developers and neighborhood leaders to update policies, such as housing codes and other regulations, to remove barriers might hinder the ability of individuals to be able to age in place. ARC also demonstrates and brings best practices to the local level, such as removing zoning that prohibits the placement of accessory dwellings in residential areas.
Staff continues to research and quantify the unique needs of rapidly aging communities and educate the marketplace about the demand for various housing options, along with needed services, within established communities.