Walkability Institute wants to create a safer, healthier Guam - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Walkability Institute wants to create a safer, healthier Guam

Posted: Jun 08, 2018 4:28 PM Updated:

Eight lives lost, so far, this year after pedestrians are hit by a car while walking along or crossing Guam's roads. It's an issue authorities hope to further prevent. The safety concerns also highlighted as the Walkability Institute focuses its effort to increase foot-traffic ultimately pushing for a healthier Guam...

Not just talking the talk, but walking the walk. Public Health's Center for Noncommunicable diseases recently conducted a walkablity assessment, observing 210 different streets on island. Visiting guest speaker Mark Fenton public health planning and transportation consultant, says people want the option to get by on foot, saying, "People say we don't have a culture of walking, but if you go out there and look we see kids going to and from neighborhoods, down to the beach we see people making their way to the store.

"The way to make it really the cultural norm is to make it safe, inviting and comfortable."

Safety a top deterrence. 6 months into the year, and so far, eight deadly auto-pedestrian accidents have put the community on high alert, the latest just this week. 31 year old Barbara Lizama was walking home with her 12 year old daughter before a car struck from behind and took her and her unborn baby's life, and Melinda Duenas 32 was struck by a car in front of American grocery store.

In their survey, Haley Cash epidemiologist with the Pacific Island Health Officers Association says they found little to no streetlights and barely any sidewalks. "People aren't going to walk and be out and physically active if they don't feel the streets are safe, so it's important that people have designated places to walk and those sidewalks are safe and secure," Fenton explained.

"Many village roads lack sidewalks, this just one of many roadblocks on the bumpy pavement to make Guam's roads safer and pedestrian friendly," he showed. "We found a lot of streets were lacking sidewalks or the sidewalk quality was really poor we found other issues that shouldn't be surprising such as stray dogs or boonie dogs and a large amount of trash or dumping on the streets, as well."

Senators, and Mayors also attended the conference, conference leaders hoping to address these concerns, so walking can become the norm and part of a healthy lifestyle.

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