The Big Picure: Your Study. Your Vision. Your Plan for the City of Huntsville

Vision

  • Huntsville is an age-friendly city: Citizens of all ages and abilities can live in and contribute to the community.
  • Huntsville has the lowest obesity rates among cities in Alabama.

About

Aging in Place

A healthy city recognizes the value in active living and provides opportunities for physical activity for all its citizens, including its seniors.  “Aging in place” refers to the opportunity for older citizens to live out their lives either in the home they’ve known, or within their familiar neighborhood where they can lead a life of reasonable independence. 

 

Several neighborhood design factors help support “aging in place” including:

 

  • A variety of housing options where homes are smaller, more manageable, easier to navigate and less expensive to maintain.
  • Land use patterns where key destinations are within walking distance and various buildings and open spaces are well connected
  • A variety of travel options including affordable transit, safe and comfortable sidewalks and attractive greenways.

 

Healthy and Active Communities

A healthy city is aware that income levels, equity, culture and social support are all part of the environment that influences participation in physical activity.  Recognizing this, Huntsville continues to develop community resources to empower its citizens to be healthy and active.  Clean air, abundant recreation opportunities and expanding bike and pedestrian facilities all contribute to a growing culture of health in the city.

Actions

  • This action has not been completed.

    Increase opportunities for active living through planning and design that encourages walking and biking and provides increased options for public transportation.

  • This action has not been completed.

    Work with developers and engineers to support easy neighborhood connectivity to destinations such as shops, parks, schools and recreation locations by designing streets and neighborhoods that are well connected, appealing and safe for pedestrians and cyclists.

  • This action has not been completed.

    Ensure security and crime prevention by addressing real and perceived threats to participation. Effectively communicate with the public by offering campaigns and events and working in partnerships to provide innovative programming in recreation and sports for all age groups.

  • This action has not been completed.

    Encourage opportunities for physical activity in schools (from day care to university), workplaces, health care settings, recreation facilities, neighborhoods and homes.

  • This action has not been completed.

    Inform, educate and encourage the aging population regarding the benefits of active living.

  • This action has not been completed.

    Conduct five year land use policy reviews, integrating active living as part of the strategic land use planning process.  Create policies that reduce dependency on the car and promote reasonable access to the best quality public transportation possible, and encourage walking and biking for all citizens.

  • This action has not been completed.

    Review current traffic policies and legislation. Support biking policies and legislation that are safe and appropriate for avid bikers as well as weekend bikers.

  • This action has not been completed.

    Establish policies that provide incentives for developers to develop “pocket” parks as well as other creative ways for conserving and providing green space.

  • This action has not been completed.

    Provide parking for bicycles and public transportation. Also, look for new ways to refurbish or even replace some existing above ground parking with underground parking; creating green spaces in these areas for public use.

  • This action has not been completed.

    The City of Huntsville, Huntsville City School System, the Police Department, other City Departments and local agency’s team together to educate parents and children on the importance of an active lifestyle and safety – how the journey to and from school can be an important part of a physical activity regimen.

  • This action has not been completed.

    Develop walkability audits and written evaluation that decision-makers, city planners and transportation engineers, residents and other stakeholders can use to gauge the degree to which a neighborhood is pedestrian friendly; focusing on general walkability, specific problems or access to key destinations.

  • This action has not been completed.

    Special attention should be given to parks, keeping in mind the needs of older active adults.   Exercise equipment and benches should be carefully placed along walking trails and in parks allowing individuals to stop for a rest or socialize with others.

  • This action has not been completed.

    Set target dates – seeking to ensure that residential settings for all income groups have opportunities that promote active living lifestyles. See that access to active space is provided free or subsidized facilities are in place for individuals with disabilities and individuals or families in disadvantaged circumstances.

  • This action has not been completed.

    Update the Sidewalk Master Plan every five years. This effort should include filling sidewalk gaps that currently exist in older neighborhoods and establishing regulations that encourage connectivity for newer developments.

  • This action has not been completed.

    Update the Greenways Master Plan every five years.   This plan should aim to expand the city’s greenway system. It should also support connectivity to schools, shopping and local destinations by placing emphasis on safe and attractive greenways, walking paths and biking facilities.

  • This action has not been completed.

    Continue Complete Streets efforts – Ensure that people on these streets are comfortable no matter what form of transportation they use. Implement strict policies for traffic control measures, adequately timed lights, clearly marked crossings, traffic calming devices and crossing guards at crucial intersections (especially during school hours).

  • This action has not been completed.

    Update the Bike Master Plan every five years.

  • This action has not been completed.

    Add bike lanes, where applicable, when roads are slated for repair; look for other opportunities in current projects that can provide success without requiring new resources.

  • This action has not been completed.

    Place park benches and provide police officers on bikes in areas where older residents live and trails where they walk.  Strongly support socialization for older adults; providing easy to use, accessible and affordable transportation options.

  • This action has not been completed.

    Establish a sidewalk connectivity division of the Public Works department that works only on specific projects such as; the sidewalk gap master plan, safe routes to schools, sidewalks to greenways and parks or local destinations.

  • This action has not been completed.

    Educate developers, businesses and the general public that pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods and proximity to trails and parks result in increased property values.

  • This action has not been completed.

    Collect inventory on abandoned and vacant lots throughout the city – Build an urban green network (connecting all the “pocket” park squares) by turning vacant or rundown lots into green or open space for public access.

  • This action has not been completed.

    Set a system in place to secure funding through the federal “Safe Routes to School” program.  Teach road safety rules and encourage parents and grandparents to walk or cycle to school with young children so that walking to school every day becomes the norm.  Educate neighborhood community members on creative ideas such as – “The Walking School Bus” – where parents take turns overseeing several children on neighborhood routes and walk or bike with all of them to school.  Take inventory, so that evaluations can be made and results reported to each school’s neighborhood on who is being the most active.

  • This action has not been completed.

    Provide public access to city bicycles and racks for short trips in public places. Also, provide bicycles for government staff, especially police, park employees and meter-readers (to use on neighborhood streets).

  • This action has not been completed.

    Produce and promote a citywide active living map of parks, trails and biking and walking routes through neighborhoods.