The Louisiana Cancer Prevention & Control Programs (LCP) at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Public Health and the Louisiana Healthy Communities Coalition (LHCC), which receives LCP leadership and resources, have been recognized by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors in a case study on a successful Complete Streets implementation in Southwest Louisiana (SWLA).
Complete Streets ordinances ensure transportation infrastructure is designed so all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders can safely use and access roads. Specific features include sidewalks, bike lanes, transit shelters, etc., which help people be more physically active, while also providing transportation options to disadvantaged communities. The case study details the factors leading to its unanimous adoption.
“Real change comes when a community wants it, and this one started with Healthier SWLA looking at policy, systems and environmental (PSE) change,” said Mack Giancola, head of LCP’s comprehensive cancer control program and a LHCC state leader. “Healthier SWLA is a part of LHCC, which mobilizes and supports communities fighting tobacco and obesity, in whichever PSE way they want. So it was great to leverage LCP and LHCC to bring on others and make Complete Streets a reality.”
Those others included non-traditional partners, such as policymakers and businesses. “… A lot of elected officials do not speak public health…But when you talk about money, when you talk about the economic impact that these things have, their ears perk up,” said Mr. John O’Donnell, LHCC network manager. “… A lot of our biggest partners had nothing to do with public health or healthcare.”Friday Letter Submission, Publish on July 26