Complete Parks Playbook 10 Locate Ensuring Equitable Access to Parks The numerous benefits of parks and open spaces are realized only by those who live or work near parks or can readily access them via safe routes to parks. In a complete parks system, every resident should live within walking distance of a park, open space, or green space (i.e., within half a mile). In assessing a parks system, it is especially important to focus on low-income neighborhoods, which are less likely to have accessible sports areas, parks and green spaces, and/or public pools and beaches. 3 Parks and green spaces can come in all shapes and sizes. Larger parks may draw people from the broader region, whereas smaller parks usually serve the neighborhoods immediately surrounding them. In urban settings and other areas where green space is limited, there may be opportunities to create pocket parks, parklets, or play streets or to increase trees and greenery on streets. Cities or counties can also open up existing recreation areas in schools and faith-based organizations to the larger community through shared use agreements. Communities that are already built out will need to be creative in order to ensure that all residents in all neighborhoods have access to a park or green space. In addition to parks, the mere presence of street trees, shrubs, and green spaces can provide an important mental refuge for people. It is important for all communities, regardless of density or location, to provide high-quality green spaces. POTENTIAL POLICIES for ensuring equitable access to Parks • Shared Use Policy • Open Streets Policy • Play Streets Policy • Parklet Policy • General Plan (which includes policies such as traffic calming)