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A SF Community Does A 'Walk Audit'

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Live Well Sioux Falls has teamed up with a community in the city to help them become more active. It’s just one part of a city wide effort to help residents get out, get some fresh air, and exercise more.

For the residents of the Cathedral District, making sure their sidewalks are clean, trash is picked up and their neighbors' homes look good is a regular part of their community's spring maintenance. But on Saturday an extra checklist was added was they took a walk around the area to learn the 'walkability,' of their neighborhood.

"So it's just looking at the traffic and the physical environment around them that will encourage more walking,” said Mary Michaels, Healthy Community Specialist with the Sioux Falls Health Department.

She said Saturday's walk is the first time city officials have taken a walk with residents of a Sioux Falls community to find ways to help them get their 30 minutes of exercise daily.
"We really hope it helps them look at streets and sidewalks, and modes of transportation a different way. So they themselves can make some changes to be more active,” said Michaels.

John Martin has lived in the Cathedral area district for 13 years. He said making sure his neighborhood, in which his family lives, is in tip top shape is important.

"We try to do it every year. Last year we got rained out twice and so we weren't able to do it,” said Martin. “We got weathered out once this year, but today it cleared up and turned sunny.”

Martin said not only did Saturday's walk show him what sidewalks are in rough shape, and where pedestrian crosswalks are needed, he was also able to get to know one of his neighbors a little better.  
Which is something he said is important because as he starts to get out more, he will know the friendly faces he sees along his way.

“If you don't get to know your neighbors and you don't take stalk in your neighborhood, you not only don't know each other, you don't feel comfortable depending on each other when you need to,” Martin said.

And Michaels said knowing how active and close this area is, is the reason why they're kicking off what she hopes will be a city wide program.

“They've been recognized as one of the top ten neighborhood's in the country by the planning association. And so it gives them a chance to not only look at things from a safety perspective, but gives them a chance to build that comradery,” said Michaels.
As the teams of two circle their four block area in which they were assigned, they are already breaking a sweat.

Notes residents made while on their walk audits will be given to the city. After that, coordinators said hopefully changes can be made to make the area more exercise friendly.
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