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Decades of research shows that expanding roads doesn’t provide lasting congestion relief. More lanes means more traffic.

Safe Routes Twitter chat looks at solutions

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During our Twitter chat this past week, the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity, Enlace, and the Illinois Sate Alliance of YMCAs joined us to talk about why safe walking and biking is important for ALL kids in Illinois, no matter where they live or where they go to school. 

Safe access to walking and biking space is a problem for kids across the state — sometimes the issue is broken sidewalks and sometimes the barrier is violence and lack of feeling safe on the walk or bike to school.

During the chat we learned about how issues like infrastructural inadequacies, neighborhood violence or even simply lack of encouragement can have a major impact on whether or not kids walk and bike to school.

Often, these barriers to walking and biking to school can be invisible, which makes them even harder to address and even more important to talk about!

Our panelists provided helpful ideas to get kids walking and biking to school, such as walking school buses, volunteering as crossing guards and assessing the walkability of your neighborhood as a starting point to learning more about the barriers to walking and biking in your community.

In addition to the safety benefits of improving biking and walking for all kids in Illinois, we explored the health benefits as well, particularly in youth, and how these benefits extend to everyone in the neighborhood. Creating sidewalk connectivity near schools creates space for everyone in the neighborhood to be physically active, not just kids.

Check out our Storify of the chat highlights and keep the conversation going with #SafeRoutesIL.

Learn more about the Safe Routes for Healthy Kids Campaign and send a letter to your state representative to tell them that safe streets for our kids is necessary now!