There are plenty of metaphoric barriers to getting fit. In Allen County and a whole lot of other communities across the country, there are quite a few literal ones as well.
Human beings are at their best when they are moving. And for most of us, the easiest, most accessible form of exercise is simply walking or riding a bike to the places we need to go. A brisk walk to work or a bike ride to the grocery — we call it Active Transportation — not only offers some much-needed exercise, but it can offer up a new view of the world. It gives us an opportunity to chat with neighbors, take in views, and can even provide us with that too-rare quiet time with our thoughts, away from the blare of TVs and office chaos.
It all sounds wonderful, except for far too many of us, it’s just too much effort. And for some, it’s close to impossible.
Allen County has taken big steps in becoming an Active Transportation community, but we still have a ways to go before we can truly say we’ve made the healthy choice the easy choice. We have bike paths, but they don’t always connect us to the places we need to go most. We have sidewalks, but they end suddenly, forcing walkers and even people in wheelchairs out into busy streets.
Activate Allen County is working to make those healthy choices easy by partnering with county leaders on the first-ever Active Transportation Plan. The plan would consider other short- and long-term transportation plans created by various government bodies around the county so we can avoid duplicating efforts, but also consider additions that will help engage Active Transportation.
To create a real, useful Active Transportation Plan, we need input from the community. In the coming weeks, we will offer a variety of opportunities for residents to give their input, including three public forums already scheduled:
• Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. – Cairo Community Center, corner of James and Wall streets, Cairo
• Dec 10 at 4:30 p.m. – Health Partners of Western Ohio, 441 E. Eighth St., Lima
• Dec 12 at 3 p.m. – Allen East High School, 9105 Harding Highway, Harrod
In addition, a web survey has been designed to help better gauge what type of improvements the community desires. This survey should take about ten to fifteen minutes to complete and is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/AC_ATP.
Paper versions of the survey may be obtained from Activate Allen County located in the YMCA Annex at 136 West St in Lima. Completed paper surveys may be returned to the same location.
More information on the Active Transportation Plan may be found on the Activate Allen County website’s Active Transportation Plan page, http://www.activateallencounty.com/healthy-community/active-transportation.aspx
Health tips courtesy of Activate Allen County will appear in this space every Monday.