Legislative-Briefs-Government-actions-on-obesity

Legislative Briefs: Government actions on obesity

First bike corrals installed in New Orleans
New Orleans' first pair of bike corrals – racks that hold several bicycles in one spot – were christened in the French Quarter in September, thanks to a public-private partnership between city government, business leaders and bike advocates.
"We're grateful for the support of our partners in the French Quarter, as we work to achieve our goal of providing secure bike parking to our community," said C. Garlan White, co-project leader of the Where Ya' Rack? bike parking initiative. "Some people appreciate the pure convenience of having bike parking, while others appreciate that it encourages a healthier mode of transportation."
Among the efforts that led to the new corrals was a 2012 report, developed by bike advocacy group Bike Easy with research and technical assistance from Tulane Prevention Research Center Program Manager Isobel Healy. The report, authored by Healy while a graduate student at Tulane, outlines the need for more public bike parking, using information from business owner and bicyclist surveys and observations of bike parking in the French Quarter. To read the full report, click here.
Though the new corrals are the first of their type to be installed in the metro area, more are planned throughout the city. Funded through the support of the Barman's Fund and the Hash House Harriers, the new corrals are part of nonprofit Where Ya'Rack?'s efforts to improve bicycling in the region by installing donated bike racks. Other partner agencies and groups supporting the first wave of bike corrals include New Orleans Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer, New Orleans Department of Public Works, Vieux Carre Commission, French Quarter Business Association, Bike Easy and other neighborhood based citizens groups.
"Providing high quality bicycle parking makes bicycling an attractive and affordable transportation option, which allows us to build equity and wealth in our community," Councilwoman Palmer said.
The new corrals, at 400 Ursulines Avenue and at the corner of Decatur and Wilkinson streets, are already being used by local cyclists. Tom Lowenthal and Bob Rodrigue, members of It's All About the Music Bike Ride group, said they'll use the parking during their regular Tuesday night group rides to visit local music venues.
(Photo by PRC Staff: Bob Lowenthal locks up his bike after the bike corral ribbon-cutting event in the French Quarter in September.)

Play Streets take activity to parks, playgrounds and streets
The Fit NOLA partnership, a New Orleans Health Department-led initiative to improve the health and fitness of all city residents, is bringing several free, activity-themed events to local neighborhoods this fall.
One of the events, Play Streets Ciclovia, will be the first-of-its-kind in New Orleans. On Oct. 26, a one-mile stretch of Esplanade Avenue will be closed to cars, trucks and other motorized vehicles in order to bring people together in the street to walk and talk, get moving and feel good. Other cities across the world have created similar street-based events, also called Open Streets or Ciclovias. The plan for Play Streets Ciclovia is to close Esplanade Avenue, between Rampart and Broad streets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26. There’s no start or finish line, simply a safe space open for all to gather. The KidsWalk Coalition at Tulane Prevention Research Center is one of several partners for Play Streets Ciclovia.
The Partnership for a Healthier America and Blue Cross Blue Shield awarded the Health Department a grant to fund five Play Streets events, each centered on safe, fun physical activity for children and families. Fit NOLA is working with multiple organizations to host three Play Streets events in October, each in different neighborhoods.
If you are interested in hosting a workshop, providing physical activity programming, or having an information table at any of the Play Streets events, contact Natasha Dowell, Fit NOLA lead, with how you would like to participate. More vendors, volunteers and participants are always welcome at each event.
For more information about Play Streets Ciclovia, visit Bike Easy's website. For more information on all Fit NOLA events, visit the new Fit NOLA Calendar.

Federal food assistance may be cut
Congress is currently considering a bill that would cut $40 billion from a federal government food assistance program over the next 10 years.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also called SNAP or food stamps, is used by more than 1 in 7 Americans, according to news reports.
If enacted, the bill would require able-bodied adults, who are between the ages of 18 and 50 without minor children, to be employed or to join a work-training program in order to receive SNAP benefits. Those recipients would also be limited to receiving food assistance benefits for a total duration of three months.
Up to 3.8 million people could lose their SNAP benefits in 2014 if the bill is enacted, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
To read the Associated Press coverage of this policy issue, click here.

Topics:   built environment , bike lanes , physical activity , kidswalk coalition , policy

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