In 2012, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) joined together to plan and implement a new advocacy infrastructure to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States. The program, named “Voices for Healthy Kids,” selects and funds organizations focused on specific policy advocacy issues related to the childhood obesity epidemic. Since it started, the program has funded numerous initiatives ranging in everything from creating healthy food financing to establishing complete streets policies.
LSA is honored to be one of the recent applicants funded to do policy work in the coming year (2017) to ensure the design and implementation of our transportation network is safe, inclusive, equitable, and accommodating for every Tucsonan. In the coming year we’ll be working with the community as well as the City to define what that looks like and then make it a reality by getting the right public policy in place. If you’re a frequent reader of our monthly newsletters and the articles we share on Facebook, you may have heard us refer to a concept known as “Complete Streets” before. While it may sound like a wonky term out of a [slightly-utopian] transportation planner’s handbook, it refers to an idea we can all relate to, i.e. creating safe streets for people of all ages and abilities whether they are walking, biking, driving, or taking public transit.
Through this grant, we’ll pursue public policy initiatives to make our streets more “complete” in Tucson. But our work won’t stop there. We are dedicated to putting equity at the center of our efforts, to ensure that investments in our streets and transportation networks advance social equity, improve the lives of the most vulnerable members of our community, and ultimately create not just “complete streets,” but “complete neighborhoods” where everyone can thrive regardless of their race, ethnicity, age, gender, ability, income or religion. As the Smart Growth America Director, Geoff Anderson, summarized so succinctly at the first-ever national Complete Streets Conference last month: “It is not about the streets. It’s about the people.”
We’ll share our plans and more information about the process in the coming weeks. Meantime, please help us leverage this tremendous opportunity by contributing to our year-end fundraising campaign. The grant provides support for the initial year of getting this initiative off the ground, to ensure it is successful will take years of work. We are dedicated and committed to seeing it through; please ensure that we have the resources to do so!
(photo credits: Steve-Price—Urban-Advantage)