The HIA addressed a proposed plan for twelve miles of pedestrian and biking trails under the elevated Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) tracks from East Oakland to Hayward, known as the East Bay Greenway. Some of the influences on health that were considered include, the opportunity for increased physical activity, the greening of the landscape, reduced motor vehicle use, increased social cohesion and safety—the main barrier to use of the Greenway. The health outcomes associated with these factors include, chronic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity; improved mental health; and the risk of violence and injury. The HIA recommended ways in which the likelihood of positive health outcomes can be increased through optimal design and programming. It also made recommendations to ensure safety from accidents with motor vehicles, such as ways to improve the intersections of the Greenway with roadways; and safety from crime, such as the creation of a citizen group to patrol the trail.
The HIA was included as an appendix to the final East Bay Greenway Concept Plan and many of the recommendations were built into the plan itself. The plan won an award from the American Planning Association. The HIA also helped the developer obtain funding for the environmental impact statement (EIS) currently underway. Construction activities on the first half-mile segment-from the Coliseum BART Station to 85th Avenue-were expected to begin in May 2013.
This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.