Crimes of the Heart
It's time society stopped reinforcing the bad behavior that leads to heart disease—and pursued policies to prevent it.
By Walter C. Willett and Anne Underwood
Published Feb 5, 2010
From the magazine issue dated Feb 15, 2010
Require that sidewalks and bike lanes be part of every federally funded road project. The government already spends 1 percent of transportation dollars on such projects. It should increase the level to 2 to 3 percent. When sidewalks are built in neighborhoods and downtowns, people start walking. "The big win for city government is that anything built to a walkable scale leases out for three to five times more money, with more tax revenue on less infrastructure," says Dan Burden, executive director of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute. He recommends a "road diet" in which towns eliminate a lane or two of downtown traffic and substitute sidewalks. "When roads slim down, so do people," he says.