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Grant targets Federal Way's health: State requires plan for bicycle and pedestrian travel

A citywide master plan for increasing bicycle and pedestrian travel in Federal Way is in the works.

The city was a recent recipient of a $180,000 grant from Public Health—Seattle and King County. Public Health received the money, also in grant form, from the federal government in association with its Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) initiative. The initiative is focused on promoting healthy living habits as a means for reducing obesity and tobacco use in the United States. CPPW is funded through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Public Health—Seattle and King County is among the 44 recipients nationwide receiving the federal CPPW grant money. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded $372.8 million total. Public Health was awarded $8.9 million and will distribute the money via 51 grants of its own, according to King County's website.

"We are helping our communities use proven strategies to fight the leading causes of death in our region, such as heart disease and diabetes," King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a July 21 public statement. "Our goal is for all residents, regardless of where they live in the county, to have access to healthy choices and opportunities for healthy living."

Ideal candidate

Federal Way was contacted directly by Public Health about the CPPW funding, Federal Way senior planner Janet Shull said. The city is one of 12 focus groups the organization has identified as having a high percentage of tobacco use and obesity, Shull said.

"They were very encouraging for us to apply," she said.

The plan will also put Federal Way in line with requirements put forth by the Growth Management Act. Per the act, the state requires Federal Way begin work on a bicycle and pedestrian master plan as part of its next Comprehensive Plan update.

Creating a plan

An advisory committee will form to help with the plan. The Bicycle Alliance of Washington, Federal Way Public Schools and Multi-Service Center have been listed by the city as likely partners. Other business and public sectors will also be involved, according to Federal Way's application for the funding.

When completed, the plan will include several elements. Goals and policies will be adopted. The plan will identify actual and perceived barriers to walking and biking in the city. Graphics and maps of future connections between residential areas, commercial areas, trails, parks, schools and food and clothing banks will be outlined.

In developing the plan, staff will look at the broader community, but also focus on the Neighborhood Business zone located at Southwest 21st Street. This area is more at risk of adverse health conditions due to its high number of low-income residents, according to Federal Way's application for the funds. A Subarea Plan, designed to incorporate community elements that promote and advocate for healthy living, will be considered in the zoning.

Implementation

The grant money from Public Health will pay only for the creation of the plan. It's too early to guess the number or total mileage of paths desired for bicycling and walking, Shull said.

Staff has 20 months to form the plan. A consultant with Public Health will be available free of charge to assist with the process. Capital funding to implement the plan has not been identified.

Check it out

Federal Way applied for $259,700 in CPPW money available through Public Health—Seattle and King County in June. The application process was open to King County school districts, local governments and community organizations. Activities eligible for grant funding included development of bicycle and pedestrian master plans, development of land use plans and policies and programs that promote eating healthy and engaging in physical activity.

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