WALKSacramento has just completed a three-year project in a disadvantaged area in South Sacramento, helping to make some tangible improvements for pedestrians there. Supporting walkable communities often calls for a multidisciplinary approach, and in this effort, WALKSacramento worked with many partners in the Kaiser-funded South Sacramento Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Zone, coordinated by the Health Education Council, whose mission is to provide access, education, advocacy and training to empower individuals toward a healthy life. The HEAL Zone Initiative is a multi-sector collaboration that works to increase the overall health of residents in the Valley Hi community through fitness offerings, healthy lifestyle training and education, access to healthy foods and infrastructure changes that support healthy living.
The area is near Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento, west of highway 99 and just north of the city of Elk Grove. It is one of the densest areas of the City of Sacramento due to very large apartment communities near the major intersections. WALKSacramento’s mission in the HEAL Zone was to help improve the builtenvironment in the Valley Hi community to support and encourage safer walking. The community enjoys the presence of many stores and services, but many are on wide, fast streets such as Mack Road, Center Parkway and Valley Hi Drive that fail to provide adequate crossings and encourage high vehicle speeds.
WALKSacramento organized a number of community walk audits to engage residents in addressing these changes. Parent-led walks took place at Herman Leimbach, Prairieand Union House elementary schools, in partnership with the Elk Grove USD’s Safe Routes to School program. These led to recommendations to the Sacramento City Department of Public Works and Elk Grove Unified School District to improve neighborhood connections to the schools. Parents and staff at Prairie and Union House schools also committed to student valet and parent crossing escorts to encourage safer walking.
These are the bigger issues we’ve addressed. A full list of our HEAL Zone project improvements includes:
- HAWK Pedestrian Traffic Signal installed at Valley Hi community park
- Restriping of Mack Road from Franklin to La Mancha, with pedestrian coundowns
- Restriping of Valley Hi bike lanes
- Possible traffic signal and intersection improvements at Summersdale Drive and Mack Road
- City review of potential intersection improvements at Bamford and Center Parkway near new HEAL-supported community center
- Incoming intersection improvements at Mack Road and La Mancha
We thank the funder, Kaiser Permanente, the project coordinator, Health Education Council, and all the friends and partners we worked with on this project. The work has made a critical difference in the life of the Valley Hi community.