Columbia, MO

about

The partnership's lead agency, PedNet, was already two years old and thriving before receiving an Active Living by Design (ALbD) grant in November 2003. The coalition consists of individuals, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life in Columbia through the development of an integrated bicycling, wheeling, and pedestrian network. The program focuses on children and families.

Bike, Walk and Wheel organizes a bright spectrum of projects, from the Walking School Bus to Bike, Walk and Wheel Week to Passport to fitness. Bike, Walk and Wheel even has its own singing duo, the Jingle Sisters who compose exercise- hyping jingles, perform them publicly, and musically encourage walkers at Bike, Walk and Wheel events. The projects have generated changes in lifestyle, especially for young people, across a largely working class area. They also support changes in the physical environment to facilitate non-motorized transportation and exercise. Major partners with PedNet include the Columbia- Boone County Health Department and several other municipal agencies such as the police department, the school system, and the Mayor's Council on Physical fitness and Health. The University of Missouri, whose main campus is in Columbia, participates through its athletic department and three separate schools. Boone Hospital Center provides valuable sponsorship in many different ways. Cumulus Media radio network offers regular programming opportunities, while the Columbia SAFEKIDS coalition furnishes bicycle helmets. The partnership's lead agency, PedNet, was already two years old and thriving before receiving an Active Living by Design (ALbD) grant in November 2003. The coalition consists of individuals, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life in Columbia through the development of an integrated bicycling, wheeling, and pedestrian network. The program focuses on children and families. Bike, Walk and Wheel organizes a bright spectrum of projects, from the Walking School Bus to Bike, Walk and Wheel Week to Passport to fitness. Bike, Walk and Wheel even has its own singing duo, the Jingle Sisters who compose exercise- hyping jingles, perform them publicly, and musically encourage walkers at Bike, Walk and Wheel events. The projects have generated changes in lifestyle, especially for young people, across a largely working class area. They also support changes in the physical environment to facilitate non-motorized transportation and exercise.

Major partners with PedNet include the Columbia- Boone County Health Department and several other municipal agencies such as the police department, the school system, and the Mayor's Council on Physical fitness and Health. The University of Missouri, whose main campus is in Columbia, participates through its athletic department and three separate schools. Boone Hospital Center provides valuable sponsorship in many different ways. Cumulus Media radio network offers regular programming opportunities, while the Columbia SAFEKIDS coalition furnishes bicycle helmets.

our story

How do you measure the value of a project to improve the physical activity of kids? It might be as easy as seeing if those kids can help influence local policymakers. At least it seems that way when looking at Bike, Walk and Wheel: A Way of Life in Columbia, an Active Living by Design community partnership in Columbia, Missouri. Enthusiasm for Bike, Walk and Wheel's Passport to fitness program became clear when a group of elementary school students appeared before the City Council to request expanded funding for the project, which awards prizes to kids who document 240 minutes of activity per week. This chance to improve our health is important to us, they said. They got their funding.

Besides a lack of sidewalks and bike paths, barriers to physical activity facing pre-teens in Columbia include a shortage of encouragement to get up and exercise. Passport to fitness gives all 1,700 participants a book of exercise tips, cartoons, local information, and a calendar in which to log activities. About one-third of the students have met their individual goals —as verified by their parents&emdash; and have been rewarded with prizes.

opportunities

Located in the center of the Show Me State, the city of Columbia serves as the Boone county seat and has a population of 90,000 residents, many of whom live in a foursquare- mile area, near downtown. Bike, Walk and Wheel's priority population includes 12,500 residents, and its area includes five schools. One challenge is that the area is bisected into two neighborhoods, one low-income with a mix of whites and African Americans, and the other predominantly white and middle-income.

Bike, Walk and Wheel's vision is well articulated by Columbia Mayor Darwin Hindman, who says: "The ultimate impact is on the lives of citizens. Clearly, more and more Columbians are walking and riding their bicycles and just plain getting out and exercising more." The mayor adds that the coalition is improving urban design, building a sense of neighborhood, and producing great benefits for the city. Immediate plans include expansion of programs and partnering with the city to make sidewalk improvements around elementary schools, following a referendum in which city voters approved a $3.5 million sales tax for that purpose.

accomplishments

Created a one-mile urban loop trail in a low-income neighborhood and a walking incentive program.

Distributed more than 500 refurbished bikes through Cycle/Recycle over the last four years.

Helped city secure a $25 million federal grant to help build a citywide, non-motorized transportation network.

Approved new street construction standards that require narrower roadways and wider sidewalks, pedways, and bike lanes.

Launched nine Walking School Buses serving four schools.