EHC to spearhead accessibility of three public parks in National City

NATIONAL CITY, CA. May 14, 2018 —From a competitive pool of nationwide applicants, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership has selected Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) to join Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities -- a technical assistance program focused on improving safe and equitable local park access.

As part of the program, National City will be among ten diverse communities across the country to receive training and coaching from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership to develop an action plan for improving active travel to local parks and green spaces and implement early actions from the plan. The initiative is funded by The JPB Foundation.

Safe Routes to Parks initiatives work to improve safety and security for people walking, bicycling, and rolling to parks and green spaces. This need is especially pronounced in neighborhoods and communities lacking infrastructure to support safe walking and bicycling; where violence and crime are prevalent; and where high rates of weight-related chronic disease are prevalent.

“With an unhealthy food environment and lack of outdoor space, reports have shown that the rates of diabetes-related hospitalization and mortality are 2.3 times greater in National City,” says EHC National City Policy Advocate Sandy Naranjo. “This program will enable EHC to work with community members to design safe, multimodal routes that connect the National City parks of Kimball Park, Paradise Creek Park and Pepper Park to increase accessibility and foster active living.”

The Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities program aims to remove barriers that make it hard for people to enjoy the physical, social, and mental health benefits that parks offer and proactively work toward ensuring safe, secure access to parks and open spaces. Over the long term, with increased safety and accessibility, Safe Routes to Parks seeks to increase park usage and improve health for people of all ages, races, abilities, and income levels.

“We look forward to working with community partners and residents to achieve the long-term goal of a healthy and safe community for the residents of National City to live, work and play,” says Naranjo.

For more information on EHC and its efforts to reduce toxic pollution, visit www.environmentalhealth.org.

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ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH COALITION: Founded in 1980, Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) builds grassroots campaigns to confront the unjust consequences of toxic pollution, discriminatory land use and unsustainable energy policies. Visit online at http://www.environmentalhealth.org.

SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP: The Safe Routes to School National Partnership advances safe walking and bicycling to and from schools, to improve the health and wellbeing of kids of all races, income levels and abilities, and to foster the creation of healthy communities for everyone. For more information, please visit saferoutespartnership.org.