November 14, 2018
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Wayward Walkers

Signs lead Evansville on a walk to a healthier life
Lacy Wilson, Robin Deem, Courtney Lee Horning, and Julie Phillips stand next to one of the wayward finding signs.

When it is time to run to the grocery store, the post office, or on any other errand, hardly anyone in Evansville actually runs. We like to talk the talk, but we rarely walk the walk.
In 2012, the Healthy Communities Partnership (HCP) was formed to guide people in the community to a more health-conscious life and gathered local businesses and organizations like the Purdue Extension Office and Evansville Community Health Organization (ECHO) to work alongside them.

One of the ways they are doing this is by installing wayward finding signs along Franklin Street to give pedestrians walking directions, and time and length estimates to nearby points of interest, like parks and grocery stores.

“After gathering and reviewing data, it was determined our community’s access to physical needs was especially low,” says Robin Deem, ECHO’s marketing and social media coordinator. “With this information, one of the goals was to implement programs and policies to increase everyday physical activity.”

The wayward finding signs currently are only on Franklin Street, but the HCP plans to add signs to Haynie’s Corner in the spring and possibly will add more on North Main Street once construction is finished on the Complete Streets Project.

The signs are color-coded to help walkers distinguish between different destinations — green for parks and open spaces, purple for commercial locations, blue for civil and institutional locations, yellow for leisure, and pink for transit.

“Our biggest hope is to create a heightened awareness about physical activity and all the benefits, which include an increase in energy, mood, and sleep and a reduction in Type 2 diabetes, stroke, blood pressure, and risk of heart attack,” says Deem. “The emphasis is to increase movement in day-to-day activities, such as going to the post office, the grocery store, or the doctor’s office. We are hoping people will look to walk or bike to a location before automatically jumping into a vehicle.”

For more information about the HCP, visit healthybyfive.org. For more information on ECHO, visit echochc.org. For more information about the Purdue Extension Office, visit extension.purdue.edu.

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