Community walkability means more than just sidewalks and rails - walkability happens when all of our built structures including streets, buildings, landscaping, intersections, and of course sidewalks and trails work together to accommodate pedestrians walking, biking and using other alternative forms of transportation.
Truly walkable communities have the capability to transform the area's economic health and environmental sustainability. With more people walking, retail businesses improve, property value increases and less cars are on the road. In addition to effecting economic and environmental health, walkability can also improve individual health. Several studies show that walkable communities boast lower rates of obesity.
To improve walkability in St. Helena, Madison and Tensas parishes, CRPC and LSU AgCenter staff performed a walk audit in the area to help assess the current state of the local roadways and determine what can be done to increase access to physical activity for the public.
For this project to come to fruition, the LSU AgCenter was awarded a two year, $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and hopes that the project will bring a reduction in adult obesity which has exceeded beyond 40 percent of the area's population.