Updated 09/10/2012 05:40 PM
Walking trails important for health of residents and city
Walkers in Syracuse have new reasons to lace up their sneakers. The city's added three paths to its "Monday Mile" trails, this time, to city parks. It's part of an ongoing effort to help citizens get fit, but officials say the move is also important in making sure the city itself stays lively. Sarah Blazonis reports.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- When it comes to multitasking, Shaneice McDonald says you can't beat turning a trip to run errands downtown into a makeshift workout session.
"I usually drive, but I'm big on walking and health, so I try to get down here as much as I can," said McDonald.
She's not alone. City officials say foot traffic in the city is on the rise, thanks in part to efforts like the Monday Mile routes.
"We're thinking about pedestrians also every time we think about transportation because we know one of the reasons people choose to live in cities is because they want to be able to walk to places," said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner.
But the plan is just the latest in a series of steps to get people moving, including making sure sidewalk space is a factor in ongoing development projects and ensuring planned routes like the Monday Miles give walkers an idea of just what the city has to offer.
Millions have been invested in projects like the Creek Walk and Connective Corridor and pedestrian and bike traffic have become important factors in downtown development.
"Having buildings that really complement that character, that really have that pedestrian environment, the sidewalk space that is interactive and welcoming to pedestrians. That's something that's been different that I think has worked out really well," said Andrew Maxwell, director of planning and sustainability for the city.
A main goal is making it easier for citizens to stay healthy.
"Chronic disease is probably our most significant public health problem. We have an enormous issue with obesity," said Tom Dennison, director of the Learner's Center for Public Health Promotion. "So we really have to do something to bring people's attention to improving diet and exercise."
A goal the city hopes to reach by taking it one step at a time.
The new trails can be found in Thornden, Burnet and Upper Onondaga Parks.
For more information about county trails and Healthy Mondays, visit healthymonday.syr.edu.