Helps Encourage Communities with Pedestrian-Friendly Planning
Nashville, TN – Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Jim Fyke announced the launch of its new Walk with Me Tennessee initiative, addressing recreational efforts for cities and counties that focus on planning, health and fitness opportunities, infrastructure, connecting community areas and safety.
Designed as an assessment tool, the program ranks community “walkability” and provides pertinent planning information to help communities increase their pedestrian friendliness.“The department’s Recreation Educational Services Division is striving to increase awareness of alternate transportation and lower the obesity percentage of our citizens,” said Fyke. “Presently, Tennessee is ranked second in the nation for obesity and the national obesity rate of children is increasing to a hazardous level. Combine the obesity statistics, cost of fuel and the environmental impacts of vehicle emissions – having a community with alternate transportation options is invaluable to all Tennesseans’ quality of life.”
Prior to making the program available to communities across the state of Tennessee, seven pilot communities were chosen to serve as part of the program’s initial research, including the cities of Athens, Clarksville, Cleveland, Collegedale, Jackson, Manchester and Sevierville.
“We will use the status as a Walk with Me Tennessee community to help educate Tennesseans about the importance of being a walkable community and what benefits are there for them,” said Tonya Vaden, deputy director of Clarksville Parks and Recreation.
For more information about the Walk with Me Tennessee program or to complete the Inventory and Assessment application, please visit the Web site at www.tn.gov/environment/recreation. Assessment applications also can be sent to the department’s Recreation Educational Services for scoring at 401 Church Street, L&C Tower – 10th Floor, Nashville, TN 37219 or e-mail to TDEC.RES@tn.gov.
The Division of Recreation Educational Services’ mission is to create and protect parks and open spaces that provide recreation opportunities and conservation education and is composed of three sections: Trails and Greenways Technical Assistance, Funding and Planning Resources and Land Management and GIS Resources.