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RIDOH Announces Grants for Projects Promoting Physical Activity and Active Transportation

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH)'s Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) program recently awarded mini-grants to three organizations through the program's Rhode Island Streets Transformation Project. The grants will support projects that showcase the benefits of community design that promotes physical activity and active transportation.

"Supporting community design that encourages physical activity is one of the most effective steps that we can take to promote healthy living," said Director of Health Jerry Larkin, MD. "Through the enhancement of the built environment, we can help people use forms of active transportation, such as walking, biking, and rolling, that make it easier to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives."

Grant recipients in this funding cycle include:

Bike Newport: Bike Newport received $4,950 to create a temporary bike lane so Newport Folk Festival attendees can travel by bike to and from the Festival. Bike Newport will collaborate with community agencies to encourage and increase public use of the route throughout the summer while the bike lane is in place. The organization will also install counters to track public use of the temporary bike lane.

Providence Preservation Society: The Providence Preservation Society received $4,935 to offer 11 new neighborhood walks and on-foot exploratory programs between May and September 2024. Walk PVD will promote public health, build civic connections, and educate Rhode Islanders about beloved places through community discovery walks. The program will help build community and encourage participants to advocate for safe and accessible streets and spaces across Providence's diverse neighborhoods. Walk PVD participants will be invited to make subjective asset maps of the neighborhoods and streets covered during their walk, marking and labeling places that were meaningful to them. Walk PVD 2024 will culminate in a September 2024 exhibition of these asset maps. A Flickr page of the maps will also be created so city and state agencies, advocacy organizations, nonprofits, and citizen-led groups can learn how people experience Providence's streets and neighborhoods.

Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council: The Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council received $4,950 to create a pop-up park and temporary bike path in Providence's Eagle Square. The Council plans to link intersecting bike paths with signage to inform users that bike paths continue in multiple directions. The Council also plans to convert a defunct vehicular bridge into a pop-up park with picnic areas and food truck events, and to host a PVD Bike Jam event to encourage bike riding.

RIDOH's Healthy Eating & Active Living Program (HEAL) works to increase access to physical activity and active transportation by collaborating with partners across the state to advance policy, systems, and environmental change. The program is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, using funds from the five-year State Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) Cooperative Agreement and the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant (PBG) to implement innovative activities to make Rhode Island a safer and healthier place to live.

The HEAL program launched the Rhode Island Streets Transformation Project in 2022 in partnership with Grow Smart Rhode Island and the Providence Streets Coalition.

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