Getting on the Road to Health

Does transportation have an impact on public health? What do you think? Photo: Wikimedia

(The following article is by Ruben Cantu, the program director for the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network.  This month, they’re holding a series of community convenings throughout California to discuss the public health impacts of our transportation decisions on our communities.  Los Angeles’ convening will be at the California Endowment Building one week from today from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M.  To register, click here. – DN)

From the air that we breathe to getting to school safely, the ways we move around impact our health and the wellbeing of our communities. That’s why the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network is hosting a series of regional community convenings, The Road to Health: Improving Community Wellbeing Through Transportation, to address the many ways that transportation impacts us.

A statewide health advocacy organization, CPEHN’s mission is to eliminate health disparities by advocating for public policies and sufficient resources to address the health needs of communities of color. While many know us for our work on ensuring access to affordable, quality care and fighting budget cuts, our fight has increasingly moved toward addressing the environmental and social factors that impact our everyday lives. As we canvassed community stakeholders about the issues on which we should focus, transportation rose to the surface.

We know there are many benefits to healthy transportation planning. Safe streets for pedestrians and bicyclists encourage a more active lifestyle for residents of all ages. Quality transit increases access to parks, healthy food, and other neighborhood services. The right focus in planning can help reduce the number of injuries and fatalities from collisions. All of these are reasons for us to get involved in local planning efforts.

Join us on April 27 for The Road to Health, held at the California Endowment at 1000 N. Alameda from 10 am to 2 pm, the event promises to provide insight into how to we can work together to build healthier, more robust neighborhoods. We’ll feature a presentation from TransForm, a leading transportation advocacy organization, and a panel of local advocates, including the LA Bus Riders Union, the LA County Bicycle Coalition, and East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, who will share their efforts to ensure cleaner air, safer streets, and access to public transport. We’ll also talk about opportunities for you to be involved in local, statewide, and federal efforts to influence transportation policy and planning, including a CPEHN-sponsored bill, AB 441 (Monning) , which would incorporate health and equity considerations in state general plan and regional transportation plan guidance.