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Shapiro Administration Awards $255,000 in Grants to Nine Communities to Improve Walking and Biking Networks, Boost Physical Activity, Enhance Road Safety and Public Health

These grants help to fund public networks that increase physical activity while reducing obesity and chronic disease, which simultaneously improves individual health, expands economic vitality, and reduces health care costs.


Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) today announced $255,000 in grants through the WalkWorks program to assist nine different communities in developing Active Transportation Plans to increase physical activity by connecting local destinations with improved pedestrian, bicycle, and transit networks. 

Supported by the DOH and the Pennsylvania Downtown Center, WalkWorks recipients will work over the next year with transportation and community planners to collect data, assess current conditions and aspirations, and incorporate public input to craft the Active Transportation Plans. The program benefits from a partnership with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and its Community Conservation Partnerships Program and Mini-Grant Program.

“Walking is one of the easiest and most accessible ways to improve our overall health, helping to reduce stress and risk of diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure,” said Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Debra Bogen. “Walking outside has the added benefits of sunshine, fresh air, and enjoying nature — all of which are good for our physical and mental health. WalkWorks supports healthy communities by enabling more people to have the option of walking or biking to places they go every day.”


“Improving access to trails and creating safer opportunities to spend time outdoors is critical in drawing people to nature,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “We know that people who spend time outdoors are healthier both physically and mentally, and we are also seeing boosts to local economies through the impact trails are having on local tourism across the Commonwealth. The WalkWorks program is essential in helping connect people to the outdoors in their home communities, which is why we are excited to continue this partnership with the Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Downtown Center.”

This year’s grant recipients are:

Allegheny County –

·         Bellevue Borough: $30,000

·         Swissvale Borough: $30,000

·         Wilkinsburg Borough: $30,000


Clinton County –

·         City of Lock Haven: $20,000


Crawford County –

·         City of Meadville: $30,000


Dauphin County –

·         Lower Paxton Township: $25,000


Erie County –

·         Albion Borough: $25,000


Lehigh County –

·         City of Allentown: $35,000


Westmoreland County –

·         Vandergrift Borough: $30,000

Living in, working in, or visiting communities with safe, beautiful, functional, and accessible public spaces and streets enables the use of activity-friendly routes to reach key destinations. These opportunities for movement help to increase physical activity and reduce obesity and chronic disease, which simultaneously improves individual health, expands economic vitality, and reduces health care costs.

This year’s WalkWorks grants embody and acknowledge the connections and needed coordination between transportation policy and public health.

“Our goal is safe, accessible, and inviting transportation options for all. WalkWorks helps communities improve public health by reducing the risk of injury and death in traffic and increasing opportunities for everyday physical activity,” said Samantha Pearson, Healthy Communities Program Manager at the Pennsylvania Downtown Center, and coordinator of the WalkWorks Program. “We are making strides in adjusting our surroundings to make them pro-access, pro-activity, and pro-health. Our collaboration can lead to healthier people, more resilient communities, safer streets and roads, and stronger local economies.”

The grant recipients were selected from a pool of high-quality applicants by a multidisciplinary review team that included representatives from the Pennsylvania Downtown Center and the Pennsylvania Departments of Health, Transportation, Conservation and Natural Resources, and Community and Economic Development.

The WalkWorks program is committed to expanding walkability, bikeability, accessibility, and connectivity to transit across Pennsylvania and encourages residents to incorporate activity-friendly routes into daily routines.

Funding for the grants is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant program, and from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, through the Environmental Stewardship Fund.

For more information about WalkWorks, visit the PA WalkWorks website.

Visit the Explore PA Trails and Get Outdoors PA website for information on recreational resources.


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