More than 70 signs posted
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 21, 2015) — Earlier this year Lexington created Walk (Lexington), a collaboration to promote healthy living between Walk (Your City], a civic start-up focused on making cities more livable, and LivableLEX, a new initiative of the Lexington Downtown Development Authority. As part of the program signs were posted around town directing pedestrians to public spaces, attractions, civic institutions, and commercial centers that might be closer than they realized.
This week, the University of Kentucky joined in the venture, installing more than 70 pedestrian signs on and around campus as part of Walk (UK).
Signs show the distance in minutes to on- and off-campus destinations that may be closer than students, staff and visitors realize, with a focus on the Euclid Avenue corridor to encourage campus-community connections.
The project, supported with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and UK Parking and Transportation Services, aligns with the institution’s goals to increase campus access and mobility on foot. Walk [UK] is one of many efforts on campus to enhance the pedestrian experience.
“Through our Transportation Master Plan, we’ve been focusing on finding alternative ways for people to get to, from, and around campus,” said Eric N. Monday, executive vice president for finance and administration. “This supports a number of our priorities — including sustainability, wellness and collaboration among different members of our community.”
Led by Melinda Ickes, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, graduate students from that department helped plan and implement the Walk [UK] campaign with assistance from the Walk [Your City] team. Ickes is evaluating the project’s impact on walking for transportation and leisure, both on- and off-campus.
The findings will not only contribute to existing research related to point-of-decision prompts for physical activity, but will also help support similar efforts beyond Lexington, through the development of a Walk [Your City] toolkit. Communities nationwide can use the toolkit to implement their own campaigns to support active transportation.
Walk [UK] supports the U.S. Surgeon General’s recent Call to Action to promote walking and walkable communities as a public health strategy. Colleges and universities are specifically highlighted as a sector that can promote walkability through policy and campus design.
“Encouraging individuals of all ages to add walking to their daily routine can truly impact health and well-being,” Ickes said. “Using point-of-decision prompts, such as the Walk [UK] signs, is an innovative way to promote walking, both for transportation and leisure, among UK employees and students, as well as those in the surrounding community. With UK leading the way, we can help build momentum to create a statewide walking movement, thereby improving the health of Kentuckians.”