+ 2 CHILDREN
= 1 NEW BRIGHTON FAMILY
Here they are in the back yard of their Craftsman period New Brighton bungalow with daughter Soojin Yoonsmith, 2; and son Leo Yoonsmith, 3.
LIKE ST. GEORGE
FOR YOUR HEALTH
The spring issue of Reclaim--the print quarterly of Transportation Alternatives, the principal advocacy group for bicycling, walking and public transit in New York--reports that a critical milestone in the way we think about walking has been reached, not just here, but nationwide.
The net-net? More and more people are coming to understand that car-centered suburban environments promote physical inactivity, leading to greater risk of heart disease, stroke, some cancers, and diabetes, along with diminished mental health and quality of life.
Living in a walkable neighborhood like St. George, by contrast, is not only more convenient and less expensive to get around in; it's actually better for your health. (This assumes, of course, that you take advantage of this benefit and actually walk to the store, the park, or the ferry instead of driving.)
(Photo by D. Goodings)
In an article entitled "The Rx for Better Streets," James F. Sallis, Ph.D., professor of psychology and director of active living research at San Diego State University, reports growing unanimity among influentials such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Institute of Medicine and the U.S. Surgeon General, that "we must create environments and enact policies that help people be active."
Adding weight to this positive trend among medical professionals, a study conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Active Living Research Program uncovered a 44 to 59 percent increase in public support for "traditionally designed (walkable) communities between 2003 and 2005, as people became more aware of the links between community design and health."
Two of the study's other findings lend support to the proposition that we in St. George and residents of other north shore Staten Island neighborhoods must enhance and expand the walkability of our neighborhoods by demanding policies that move us away from cars and toward better health for ourselves and our families. The two additional key findings are:
•People who live in walkable neighborhoods like St. George, with connected streets and nearby destinations, do more total physical activity than those who live in low-walkable suburbs (and suburban-style neighborhoods, of which Staten Island has plenty).
•Parent concerns about traffic are the strongest predictors of children walking to school, and those concerns are higher in low-walkable suburbs.
[To read the complete article, go to http://www.TransAlt.org and request a copy of Reclaim's Spring 2009 edition (single issues are provided at no charge upon request). At this writing, only the PDF of the last (Winter, 2008) issue of Reclaim is available for download.]