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Street Safety Workshop encourages citizens to stay mobile & healthy

LEWISTON, ID - Lewiston residents packed the house at a street safety workshop with the City's Transportation Advisory Commission and staff.

"The idea is that it will encourage people to walk and bike more," said woman.

Lewiston is among four other cities selected by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare working towards safer streets and active transportation.

"A lot more people used to walk and bike and people used to be healthier," said Idaho Smart Growth Project Coordinator Deanna Smith. "There's been a growing body of research that's been conducted that shows one of the reasons we used to be healthier, not the only one, is we were a little more active throughout our day."

According to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, 62% of Idaho adults are overweight or obese, 31% of Idahoans don't drive, and nearly 9% of Idaho adults have asthma.

"Cycling is a great form of exercise and a real health concern right now for our country," said Twin River Cyclists Membership Coordinator Jim McCracken.

The Lewiston community will implement what's known as "Complete Streets" policies, asking planners and engineers to consider the needs of people on foot, public transportation, and bicycles in local road networks.

"We're looking at trying to utilize existing streets where there's not a lot of vehicles, lower speeds, and trying to sign those and mark those to lead bikers onto them so that they can get to their destinations within their neighborhood," said City of Lewiston Developing Engineer Shawn Stubbers.

"I don't know how many times people have yelled at me out the window to get off the road with my kids," said cyclist Sherri Rothfusz. "Doing different things like that, or just not moving over, when the bikes have every right to be on the road just like the cars do."

"The real focus for Lewiston is how can it take the assets that it currently has and use them with little bits of signage, sometimes paint, it doesn't need a huge investment for infrastructure," said Smith.

For more information on the cycling story, you can visit Smart Growth's website at www.idahosmartgrowth.org.

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