Plan4Health connects communities across the country, funding work at the intersection of planning and public health. Anchored by American Planning Association (APA) chapters and American Public Health Association (APHA) affiliates, Plan4Health supports creative partnerships to build sustainable, cross-sector coalitions.
Missouri is known as a focus state for its high number of pedestrian fatalities. In 2017, APA's Missouri Chapter partnered with Trailnet, regional and city departments, and community organizations to implement several pop-up demonstrations throughout the state to educate communities on traffic calming.
Through this project, the demonstrations reached three large municipalities within Missouri to inform and educate individuals on safer street designs for people walking, biking, and driving.
In a state-by-state analysis and report of health in the U.S. by the United Health Foundation, American Public Health Association, and the Partnership for Prevention, Missouri is ranked 42nd — the state's lowest ranking since 1990. The report focuses on determinants of health (e.g., smoking, drinking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle) and outcomes (e.g., physical health, mental health, mortality).
APA's Missouri Chapter and Trailnet partnered to address built environment improvements by using pop-up traffic calming demonstrations through the Planners4Health project. The purpose of the project was to take the success from the St. Louis Plan4Health project and disseminate the knowledge and experience across the state to educate communities about traffic calming.
Members of the Missouri Chapter were interested in learning how to implement tactical urbanism projects and how to collaborate with individuals in public health to further the goals and objectives of their planning work.
The Missouri Chapter and Trailnet conducted pop-up traffic calming demonstrations in each of APA Missouri's sections: Kansas City, Ozark Mountains, and St. Louis. Kansas City's demonstration focused on improving pedestrian crossing at intersections and stop sign visibility for people driving.
Kansas City pop-up traffic calming demonstration. Photo courtesy Trailnet.
The Ozark Mountain demonstration took place in Springfield along a collector street with residential homes and local businesses. The purpose of this demonstration was to slow down the speed of people driving by narrowing the street and improving crosswalks along the street.
The St. Louis demonstrations took place within the city and county. The City demonstration highlighted a past Plan4Health demonstration location by adding temporary speed cushions and a mini-roundabout to show that the neighborhood remained focused on adding traffic calming improvements to address safety concerns residents had on street design.
The St. Louis County demonstration took place along an arterial street with commercial businesses and focused on narrowing a portion of the street and adding a mid-block crossing. The County demonstration was based on recommendations from a current project within the region focused on improving the street as a part of East-West Gateway Council of Government's Great Streets Initiative.
Each section has a traffic calming lending library to further the Missouri Chapter's outreach work with its members to educate individuals and communities about traffic calming demonstrations. The chapter's goal, in partnership with Trailnet, is to further disseminate this information through the lending libraries, focusing on rural community outreach for safer street designs that promote healthy communities.
Top image: BJC School Outreach and Youth Development, Missouri Foundation for Health, Alderman Thomas Villa, city staff, and Trailnet at the ribbon cutting for the crosswalk by Woodward Elementary School. Photo courtesy Trailnet.
Grace Kyung is special projects director for Trailnet.