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The Lummi Nation celebrated the grand opening of a new pedestrian trail on November 9th, 2010. The two mile trail allows people to feel safe and have access to free physical activity. The Lummi Planning Department, in coordination with Whatcom County and other partners, secured funding to develop a bicycle and pedestrian corridor along Haxton Way, a road where there had been numerous pedestrian fatalities. At the celebration, Shasta Cano-Martin, Executive Director of the Lummi CEDAR Project, helped to hand out safety kits which included flashlights and reflective arm bands to further promote walking safely. One of their slogans for the Lummi Safe Streets Project is “Reflect to Protect.”
The pedestrian improvements are part of an overall plan initiated by the Lummi Nation in 2005 through a non-profit organization called the Lummi CEDAR (Community Health, Elders, and Education, Drug-free, Alcohol-free, Respect) Project. CEDAR employs core tribal values to improve community health and welfare. In 2008, the Lummi Nation as awarded a Department of Health Preventive Health Block Grant to further the Safe Streets efforts through policy and improvements in the built-environment. More recently, the Whatcom County Council approved a speed limit reduction on Haxton Way for a 2-mile stretch from 50 miles per hour to 35 miles per hour, a policy advocated by the Lummi Safe Street team members and other advocates of Whatcom County. On rural Lummi Nation few streets are lit, but the new trail on Haxton Way will soon have solar powered lighting.
These and other activities garnered the Lummi Tribe a National Champion Award for Public Policy Achievement, and a Champion Award from the Washington State Department of Health.
Safe Street Walks take place every Thursday at the Lummi Fitness Center to encourage people to get out for a walk during the lunch hour. Thirty to 150 people have been participating. This aids in visibility for drivers to see that walkers are really using the sidewalks and the new path. According to Cano-Martin, “This project has really built community. Island residents now know that they are not just driving on a road, they are driving through a community.”
Washington State Department of Health, Whatcom County, Community Partners
Featured: Winter 2010
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