Safe Routes to Parks

Walking or bicycling to a community park provides double the opportunity for physical activity – on the way to the park and within it! We’re working to improve the safety and security of active travel to parks through an effort called Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities. The Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities program provides in-depth technical assistance and grant funding to ten communities working to improve safe, secure park access for people of all ages and abilities in low-income communities and communities of color. The Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities program builds on the Safe Routes to Parks Action Framework and Safe Routes to Parks Pilot Site program, developed in collaboration with the National Recreation and Parks Association.


Why Safe Routes to Parks?

Too often, communities that have experienced historical disinvestment, high levels of traffic incidences, crime and public safety challenges, and high rates of weight-related chronic disease have the least safe access to local public parks. Over the long term, with increased safety and accessibility, Safe Routes to Parks seeks to increase park usage and improve health for people of all ages, races, abilities, and income levels.


What are Safe Routes to Parks?

Safe Routes to Parks are approximately ten-minute walks or bike rides to parks that are:

  • Accessible via multiple modes of transportation for people of all ages and abilities
  • Conveniently located within approximately one half mile (10 minute walk) from where people live
  • Safe from traffic and personal danger
  • Comfortable and appealing places to walk or bicycle
  • End at parks that are well-maintained and programmed

Who needs Safe Routes to Parks?

We all do! But Safe Routes to Parks are of particular concern in communities lacking infrastructure to support safe walking and bicycling and where violence and crime and high rates of weight-related chronic disease are prevalent. Safe Routes to Parks are important for kids, who are not old enough to drive themselves to parks, seniors, who may not wish to drive, and for people without cars, who rely on walking or bicycling to get around.

Safe Routes to Parks Resources

Health Impact Assessments: A Tool to Focus on Health Assessments of Public Park Access

Ideas for Implementing Safe Routes to Parks Improvements

People Powered Improvements: How Advocates Can Support the Implementation of Safe Routes to Parks

Standalone Policies to Support Safe Routes to Parks

Keep Up the Momentum: Sustaining Safe Routes to Parks Efforts

A Checklist for Facilitating Community Engagement During Safe Routes to Parks Visioning Activities

On the Path to Safe Routes to Parks: Infographic

Equity in Safe Routes to Parks (series of five fact sheets)

Putting the "Safe" in Safe Routes to Parks: Improving Personal Safety from Crime and Violence to Promote Park Access

Safe Routes to Parks Walk Audit Toolkit

Safe Routes to Parks Action Framework: WebinarResource Guide

Incorporating Equity Into Safe Routes to Parks Webinar (Updated)

Safe Routes to School Meets Safe Routes to Parks Fact Sheet

Safe Routes to Parks: Improving Access to Parks through Walkability Report

Safe Routes to Parks Success Stories

Residents 'Lead the Change' and Ignite Collaborative Efforts to Increase Park Safety in Houston

Sustaining Success: Former Crime Magnet is Transformed into a Community Recreational and Green Space

Grassroots Community Residents Lead the Change for a Safer and More Accessible Park in Planada, CA

Making Complete Streets a Reality in Birmingham, AL

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Watch: Safe Routes to Parks grantee Zyp BikeShare conducted a tactical urbanism event to build support for better bike connections to a local park in Birmingham, AL.

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Watch: Living Cully Walks worked with community residents and artists to create a wayfinding network that helps people get to Cully Park, built on a former landfill in the Cully neighborhood of Portland.