MPO planning recognized for improving community health

slider-florida-health-community-champion-award-mpoDid you know the cost of medical care for chronic disease from obesity is estimated at $34 billion over the next 17 years in Florida? County and municipal governments play an important role in decreasing the prevalence of unhealthy weight in their jurisdictions. A variety of policies implemented by local governments have shown an increase in physical activity and improved nutrition.

In 2015, the Florida Department of Health is recognizing 65 communities as Healthy Weight Community Champions. “Health improves in communities through local solutions,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. “The number of recognized communities has almost doubled from the 2014 recognition cycle which demonstrates a growing commitment among local governments to make Florida a healthy place to live, work and play.”

The Hillsborough MPO was recognized this year for:

  • Working with neighboring counties to incrementally create a regional system of multi-use trails, focusing in recent years on feasibility studies of specific corridors to fill gaps in the network
  • Using a ‘latent demand’ methodology for identifying high-priority connections where people would be likely to bicycle if safe facilities were available, leading to many bike lanes and paved shoulders in Hillsborough County and the Cities of Tampa and Temple Terrace
  • Setting aside funds in the long range transportation plan specifically for implementing crash reduction treatments, including for walk/bike crashes

In addition, Hillsborough County and our Cities have created Community Redevelopment Areas to support redevelopment activities that will bring additional services, like supermarkets, to under-served neighborhoods. The City of Tampa was also recognized for:

  • The City’s Complete Streets Resolution
  • Operating over 3,500 acres of park land with 170+ parks, 23 community centers, 14 aquatic facilities, and over 60 miles of multi-purpose trails
  • Installing Coast Bike Share
  • Providing funding for roundabouts, speed bumps, pedestrian refuge islands, and radar feedback signs to improve pedestrian safety

We look forward to continuing to work with our local governments and planning partners towards healthier, even more vibrant communities.

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