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PLACE Program
Policies for Livable, Active Communities and Environments


PLACE Website

PLACE Program
695 S. Vermont Avenue,
South Tower, 14th Floor,
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 351-1935

What is the Healthy Policies Initiative?

Since 2010, the PLACE Program’s Healthy Policies Initiative (HPI) has been assisting low-resource cities to develop policies and land use plans that encourage active transportation, i.e. walking and biking. Regular physical activity is essential for maintaining healthy body weight and can provide major protective effects against heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Studies have shown that streets designed for pedestrians and bicyclists can encourage higher levels of walking and biking, and lead to decreases in chronic disease and motor vehicle crashes between pedestrians and bicyclists – thus creating healthier communities.

Low-resource cities often have a high prevalence of childhood obesity and chronic disease, and few streets designed for safe bicycling and walking. Such cities may not have the resources to develop bicycle and pedestrian improvement plans or to write competitive grant applications to secure funds for bicycle and pedestrian-friendly streetscape improvements.

How does the Healthy Policies Initiative work?

Under the HPI, cities partner with the PLACE Program to develop an active transportation plan. Cities are given a menu of strategy options to choose from. Once they select a plan to develop, the PLACE Program provides staff to manage the project, as well as access to technical consultants paid for by the Department of Public Health (see the list of our funders below). The menu of strategies includes: 1) Bicycle and pedestrian improvement plans; 2) Safe routes to school plans; 3) Complete streets policies; 4) Park improvement plans; 5) Bicycle and Pedestrian-friendly business districts; and 6) Pedestrian street crossing plans; 7) Parking policies to promote walking and biking.

In addition, PLACE staff work with locally-based Department of Public Health field staff to ensure meaningful community engagement. With guidance from city staff and community partners, staff recruit community members to a Stakeholder Advisory Group that gives input on the plan. Further, staff conduct community outreach to solicit ideas and concerns from community members to help shape the plan. The entire process is a joint partnership involving city staff, community stakeholders, and PLACE/DPH staff.

How is the Healthy Policies Initiative Funded?

The first round of HPI was funded by Kaiser Permanente, The California Endowment and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2010 to 2012. The second round of HPI will be made possible with funding from the Centers for Disease through the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and will be from 2013-2015.

Which cities did we work with in our first round of the Healthy Policies Project?

From 2010-2012, we partnered with the following cities in Los Angeles County to develop these plans:

Lynwood: Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan –The City of Lynwood developed their first ever city-wide Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan which proposes a network of designated pedestrian improvements and bicycle routes. Many of the proposed improvements feature innovative approaches to increase the safety for people walking and biking in the city.

Huntington Park: Safe Routes to School Plan –The City of Huntington Park chose to developa Safe Routes to School Plan for Middleton Elementary School and Middleton Primary Center. Once the plan was developed, the City, with help a DPH-funded expert consultant, submitted a grant application to the State’s Safe Routes to School program. To identify the unsafe walking and biking routes to school, the City and the consultant organized a workshop with parents and school staff. Huntington Park was awarded Safe Routes to School Grant for $250,000.

South Gate: Safe Routes to School –The City of South Gate developed a Safe Routes to School Plan for South Gate Middle School, which had an unusually large number of students enrolled and a high injury and collision rate surrounding the school area. A key part of the plan’s development was holding a workshop with parents and school staff to identify the unsafe walking and biking routes to school. They submitted the completed plan to the State’s Safe Routes to School program and were awarded a Safe Routes to School Grant for $450,000.

Pomona: Active Transportation Plan – The City of Pomona had already set aside funds to develop a Bike Master Plan. They decided to leverage a partnership with PLACE to expand their Bike Master Plan to include a pedestrian chapter that includes a strategy to prioritize the construction of missing sidewalks and recommendations to improve the walkability of several intersections. Together, these bicycle and pedestrian improvement recommendations will constitute the City’s Active Transportation Plan. The Active Transportation Plan has been incorporated into the city’s draft general plan which is currently under environmental review.

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