Complete Parks Playbook 8 Connect Creating Safe Routes to Parks Parks and green spaces should be easily accessible by foot, bicycle, or public transit. In fact, a street system is an extension of a parks and green space system. With more trees and vegetation along sidewalks, medians, and streets, street networks become green networks that link neighborhoods, schools, and commercial areas with parks and green spaces. These walkable green neighborhood environments contribute to residents’ physical and mental health. 2 Local governments can use parks and recreation master plans, Complete Streets policies, and Safe Routes to School policies to support safe routes to parks. Safe routes to parks should also be designed to eliminate disparities in access. Low-income neighborhoods often lack access to parks, and residents in these areas are more likely to rely on non-automotive means of transportation, such as walking, biking, or public transit. Therefore, a complete parks system must ensure that parks and open spaces are readily accessible via these modes of travel. In order to assess ease/difficulty of access to parks, it is important to map the walk routes that link parks with schools, libraries, dense housing complexes, and other community facilities. Pedestrian-friendly infrastructure improvements along these routes should be a community priority. Moreover, early in the design process, development projects within a half-mile of a park boundary should be reviewed for opportunities to increase pedestrian connectivity, reduce route distance to the park, and improve park visibility. POTENTIAL POLICIES for Creating Safe Routes to Parks • Complete Streets Policy • Safe Routes to School Policy • Green Streets Policy • Tree Canopy Policy • Greenways Policy • Circulation Element of General Plan