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Idaho Smart Growth Publishes New “Citizen’s Guide”!

November 29, 2011

Today, about one-quarter of Americans get the recommended amount of exercise. Yet we continue to build our communities in ways that discourage, rather than encourage, active transportation – the simplest way to get everyday physical activity. As a result, kids walking to school dropped 23% between 1969 and 2001. (1)  The percentage of children’s trips on foot going down directly correlates to the percentage of overweight children going up. (2) As less kids walk to school, car congestion at schools worsens resulting in increases of asthma and other chronic respiratory diseases and childhood obesity is reaching epidemic proportions. (3)

 Local decisions determine where schools are built, how big the schools are in each district, how schools are placed on their site, and whether there are good pedestrian and bike connections to the site. All of these factors have a significant impact on whether homes where students live are within walking and cycling distance of schools and whether students can get to the school easily and safely by walking or cycling.

 For the past two years, Idaho Smart Growth has helped over 20 communities around Idaho to advocate and implement healthy living policies.  In order to help community members engage in local planning decisions, Idaho Smart Growth recently published a new free and easy tool to help you.  Idaho Smart Growth’s Citizen's Guide can help create vibrant, healthier communities that include parks, stores, restaurants, schools, and businesses you can walk to from your home.

 With funding and support from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Idaho Smart Growth has developed this guide as a resource for citizens who are interested in helping shape the future of their community and for people who are concerned about a specific land use or transportation proposal. Our goal is to help you get started by sharing background information on land use and transportation planning in Idaho, suggesting some steps you can take to get more involved, and defining the basics of smart growth.

 Topics covered include “HOW TO HAVE EFFECTIVE INPUT IN REVISING YOUR LOCAL COMPREHENSIVE PLAN,” “12 STEPS TO ADDRESS ISSUES IN DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS THAT AFFECT YOU,”  “WHAT’S SO SMART ABOUT SMART GROWTH?” and more.  The guide also includes resource links and information about partner organizations.

 Limited amounts of printed guides are available by visiting the Idaho Smart Growth office (call first at 208-333-8066) and electronic copies are available here.


 (1) (Source: CDC 2005 and National Household travel survey)

(2) (Source: Surface Transportation Policy Partnership, Mean Streets 2000) 

(3) (Source: Surface Transportation Policy Partnership, Mean Streets 2000)