Healthy communities expert suggests ways to improve Auburn’s walkability

Along with tobacco use and poor nutrition, lack of exercise is the leading cause of chronic diseases in the United States. It's estimated that only 10-percent of American adults get a recommended 30 minutes of physical activity every day.

Public health, planning and transportation consultant Mark Fenton shared those statistics with representatives from ARISE, Cayuga Community Health Network, HealtheConnections, Cayuga Economic Development Agency and the city of Auburn Tuesday during a walking audit of downtown Auburn and the Owasco River Trail. Fenton, who has a master's degree in engineering from MIT and worked previously at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and Reebok, uses his background in engineering and biomechanics to help design communities that support healthier, more physically active lives for its residents.

Before heading out on the walking tour, Fenton shared with the group four broad categories that make a community more walkable: mix of land use, connectivity, site design and safety and access. During the tour, he offered solutions that could be implemented in the city to make it more accessible to active transportation, such as walking or biking.

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