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Florida Reinvents Complete Streets, 30 Years Later


Florida Ave. after Complete Streets improvements. Source: Space Coast TPO

In 1984, Florida transportation leaders crafted the state’s first policy for Complete Streets, which aim for safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders. The policy worked. It saved 3,500 lives in 30 years, according to a study. But, even with a three-decade decline in pedestrian deaths, Florida remains car-dependent and repeatedly ranks among the most dangerous states for pedestrians and bicyclists. What could transportation leaders do now? Their answer: Reinvent how they implement Complete Streets. Read more below in Part 1 of Salud America!’s three-part series on transportation changes in Florida. Part 2 will examine the potential for transit integration. Part 3 will cover pedestrian death reduction. Why Didn’t the ...

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Major Steps toward Affordable Housing in Austin, Texas


M Station affordable housing units in Austin, Texas (via Hatch + Ulland Owen Architects)

Access to safe, affordable housing is a priority for good health. Access to housing protects families and promotes feelings of security that can reduce stress. Affordable housing located near safe parks, full-service grocery stores, and living-wage employment helps to build community and encourages healthy eating and exercise. Two new initiatives will try to help solve the lack of affordable housing in Austin, Texas (34.5% Latino). $250 Million for Affordable Housing In November 2018, Austin voters overwhelmingly approved a $250 million bond for affordable housing. Here's where the money will go: $100 million for the Austin Housing Finance Corporation to buy land. The city then can give the land to affordable housing developers. $94 million to go to ...

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Colorado City Could Mandate More Affordable Housing


construction hard hat housing development

Longmont City Council preliminarily approved an ordinance that would mandate 12% of the livable square footage in a new residential development be dedicated to units affordable to low- and moderate-income home buyers and renters. Home buyers making 80 percent of the area median income and renters making 60 percent of the area median income can afford these units. The ordinance still needs final council approval. In many “big cities” in the United States, housing costs force some low-income and Latino families to make difficult financial decisions, new initiatives like these must be promoted in many cities. Longmont, Colo., has a population of 90,719 people with a median age of 36.9 and a median household income of $62,847. Longmont has 26% Latino population. The ...

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San Antonio Health Department Budgets for City’s First Trauma-Informed Position



San Antonio approved funding for the city’s first ever position dedicated to addressing and preventing childhood trauma and toxic stress. Nationwide, schools, communities, organizations and municipal agencies are working to better help the 46% of youth who have suffered an adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). For example, in Newark, New Jersey, Equal Justice USA is working with the Newark Police to teach policy and civilians how trauma impacts their daily lives, and in San Francisco, California, pediatricians are working community mental health providers in schools to address childhood trauma and reunification stress among unaccompanied immigrant children. Unfortunately, efforts like these often lack the coordinated, community-wide network needed to reach children and families ...

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New Texas Institute Aims to Improve Rural Health



It is a well known fact that where we live plays a vital role in our health, and those who live in rural areas struggle to access quality healthcare. Rural residents are more likely to die from heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, stroke, and unintentional injuries than their urban counterparts. In Texas, more than 3 million people live in rural areas, and are more likely to be uninsured, have lower incomes, and higher rates of death from preventive chronic diseases. The Center for Optimizing Rural Health, part of the Texas A&M Rural and Community Health Institute, aims to change all that. Center for Optimizing Rural Health Texas A&M University has been chosen as the sole recipient of a five-year grant, which will fund the Center for Optimizing Rural Health, ...

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The Midterms: Big Soda Succeeds and Fails in Stopping Soda Taxes


https://therivardreport.com/salud-america-combatting-sugary-drinks-unhealthy-weight-among-preschoolers/

A price increase in sugary drink is proven to reduce consumption, according to a Salud America! Research Review. Sugary drink taxes have bubbled up in cities across the country, like Philadelphia's tax that has reduced consumption and Berkeley's tax that has generated money for health programs. But before the U.S. midterm election Nov. 6, 2018, Big Soda giants like Coke spent millions on deceptive marketing campaigns to fight sugary drink tax measures, according to reports by NPR, the New York Times, and Vox. Experts say Big Soda is taking cues from the tobacco industry’s playbook by supporting ballot measures and state laws that block governments from passing new taxes on food and drinks as well as cultivating relationships with doctors and scientists. What happened to the ...

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The Midterms: Voters Approve Big Public Transit Improvements



During the 2018 midterm election cycle, U.S. voters passed 17 of 20 public transportation ballot measures—two remain undecided. Over the past two decades, Americans have voted in favor of public transportation more than 70% of the time, according to Josh Cohen, campaign director at the Center for Transportation Excellence. Earlier in 2018 during the primary elections, voters passed 13 of 16 measures supporting public transit; during the 2017 general election, voters passed seven of eight measures; and during the 2016 general election, voters passed 33 of the 49 measures. Elected leaders at the local and state level are getting the hint and increasingly addressing public transit issues while campaigning. “These candidates know that public transportation is an issue that ...

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Reports: Philly Sugary Drink Tax is Working


Sugary drink tax

In Philadelphia, the 1.5-cent-per-ounce Sweetened Beverage Tax on sugary drinks took effect January 2017. The tax aims to reduce sugary drink consumption and raise funds for health and education programs, such as expanding pre-kindergarten programs and improving parks. The tax also offered a tax credit for companies that sell healthy beverages. Sugary drinks—soda, sports and energy drinks, sugary fruit juices, and flavored milk—contribute to the obesity and related health disparities facing U.S. Latino kids, according to a Salud America! Research Review. The beverage industry challenged the tax, calling it unconstitutional. In July 2018, the tax was upheld. But did it work as intended? Update on Soda Tax: It’s Working! The National Bureau of Economic Research has ...

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Bicycling to Build Community Connection, Wellness


Brandyn joined Bici Co through Earn-A-Bike in 2016, and now he's employed at the shop and passing along his knowledge and skills to the next crew. Source: BiCi Co. Facebook

Bicycling shops went extinct in Hartford, Conn. (43% Latino), a few years ago. That’s why, in 2015, the Center for Latino Progress teamed with Hartford Public Schools and Capital Workforce Partners to open BiCi Co.—short for Bicicleta y Comunidad—a community bike shop cooperative run by students. The shop soon became more than a place to get a bike. It transformed into a hub for community connection, civic engagement, and better health, according to Mobility Lab. How Did They Stimulate Community Connection? Many people don’t feel an emotional connection to or a sense of membership in their community. Those people are less inclined to take action to improve their own health, according to a 2015 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation survey. Community connection can spur ...

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