Planners in Prince George’s County have talked for years about reshaping communities to help residents fetch a gallon of milk via a walk or bicycle ride, rather than add to stifling traffic congestion by having to drive.
But planners say they’re increasingly treating the Maryland county’s low-density, auto-dependent design as more than a traffic problem. More often, they say, they’re considering sprawl a health hazard.
Nearly 70 percent of Prince George’s adults are considered overweight or obese, and many areas of the county lack sidewalks or feel unsafe — whether from cars or crime — for walking, cycling or playing outside. With some of the longest commutes in the Washington region, planners say, many residents have little time to walk the dog, let alone get to a gym.
Now, in addition to trying to curb traffic, Prince George’s officials talk about changing the county’s “built” environment — how and where buildings, streets and other aspects of new development are laid out — to improve public health.
A more health-oriented approach to urban planning is taking on new urgency across the United States as rates of child and adult obesity have soared, along with Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other weight-related illnesses — despite public education campaigns and doctors’ warnings. Last year, U.S. life expectancy declined for the first time since 1993, in part to rising fatalities from heart disease, stroke and diabetes, according to a federal report released earlier this month.
Scientific Name: Alternanthera philoxeroides A native of South America, alligatorweed was inadvertently introduced to Southeastern U.S. in the late 1800s. Its white flowers are clover-like and bloom a summer. Most commonly found floating in mats along the water’s edge, alligatorweed also grows immersed and even terrestrially. Its opposing leaves are lance shaped, 1-2 inches long, […]
Do you know where the water that flows into a storm drain goes? This water does not go to a treatment plant but flows directly into our streams, lakes, and rivers. Many people poor oil, paint, yard waste, and other pollutants into the storm drain because they think the water will be treated before […]
RiverLink and MountainTrue have developed informational kiosks for each river access point along the French Broad River Paddle Trail with a grant from the North Carolina Recreational Trails Program. Each kiosk focuses on historical and natural features of the river, as well as paddle trail information including maps and boater resources. These kiosks aid users and […]