Abstract

Professionals from many different disciplines are finding innovative ways to work together to increase physical activity to help create healthier communities. One process that can provide a focal point for promoting physical activity by park and recreation professionals, land use and transportation planners, public health practitioners, and other stakeholders is the development and implementation of pedestrian plans. A pedestrian plan is a public document that lays out a community’s vision for future pedestrian activity, identifies the actions required to realize that vision, ties actions to funding sources, and describes implementation and use. The purpose of this study was to explore whether park and recreation professionals were involved in creating pedestrian plans and how park and recreation elements were represented in these plans. To answer this, we identified, collected, and conducted a content analysis of all pedestrian plans in North Carolina. Among the 41 regional, county, and municipal pedestrian plans, park and recreation professionals were mentioned in the plan 56% of the time. Seventy-one percent (n=29) had a vision statement; however, among those only five vision statements mentioned parks or recreation. In all five cases, when a plan contained a vision statement that mentioned parks or recreation, there was a park and recreation member involved in the development of the plan. A higher percent of plans with a park and recreation professional involved were more likely to list parks in their land use analysis (74% vs. 67%). Park master plans were mentioned in the pedestrian plans 29% of the time; however, a lower percent of plans with a park and recreational professional involved mentioned a park master plan (26% vs. 33%). Given the potential importance of pedestrian plans in creating connections for pedestrians, park and recreation professionals are encouraged to become involved in the pedestrian planning process if they are not already. Parks can offer opportunities for residents of diverse ages and cultures to come together to socialize and engage in health-promoting activities. Integrating a park and recreation perspective into a more comprehensive planning process can enhance access to parks, inform programs, support multiple community goals, facilitate efficient use of resources, and promote partnerships for greater sustainability

Publication Date

Fall 2009

Journal Title

Journal of Park and Recreation Administration

Publisher

Sagamore Publishing

Document Type

Article

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