Burke Community Walk Audit Back »

Executive Summary

Educational Goals: To increase physical activity in youth and adults in the rural community of Burke, South Dakota by creating community advocacy for walkability and promoting active transportation. Integrating safe routes and physical activity can enhance the connectedness of the community and quality of life.

Program Justification: This program will focus on increasing physical activity in youth and adult residents in Burke, SD. Because Burke has an inadequate sidewalk system and most walking and bicycling is done in Burke streets, adults and youth are at risks for traffic accidents. Currently, Burke doesn’t have an identified safe route for children to walk or bicycle, though this is viewed as a key strategy to keep kids active and healthy. South Dakota’s adult obesity rate is 28.1 percent and ranks 24 out of 51 states. Being overweight or obese puts individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, stroke, cancer, and higher rates of anxiety and depression. The American Heart Association states that 80 percent of Americans don’t make exercise a regular habit. Walk audits can be the starting phase to build acceptance of walking and bicycling as a transport mode, resulting in increased physical activity and making active transportation the easy choice for getting around town.

Target Audience: Youth and adult Burke residents could benefit from the implementation of a walk audit by increasing their awareness of the need for a safe, walkable route.

Public and Private Value: A walkable community reaps economic and health benefits.  Economic benefits can include higher property values and citywide, a good climate for the businesses of the community. Providing more transportation options can help individuals achieve the daily recommended levels of physical activity, which can in turn reduce and prevent chronic disease (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, stroke, and cancer).   

Program Delivery: In collaboration with public and private partners, including SD Department of Health, City of Burke employees, Burke City Council, local community leaders and volunteers, Burke residents, healthcare providers, school leaders and members of the Burke Wellness Coalition will evaluate the walking environment of Burke to identify concerns for pedestrians related to safety and security, convenience, access, comfort and aesthetics. The walk audit program will include:

  • The development of a walk audit team;
  • The implementation of an “Active Living” workshop for the community to increase residents’ awareness of active transportation issues;
  • A walking program will be launched;
  • Nutrition Field Specialist Ann Schwader will provide a healthy living article to igrow.org related to active transportation and a state-wide news release.

The walk audit will be led by Ann Schwader, SDSU Extension Nutrition Field Specialist in collaboration with the Burke Wellness Coalition. The coalition has varied representation with members who are parents, educators, business leaders, grandparents and a family physician. The Burke Wellness Coalition’s mission is: “Committed to helping Burke create and sustain environments that support nutritious food choices, increased physical activity and healthy lifestyles.”

Resources Needed: The primary resources needed for the walk audit program will be human resources including the development of the walk audit team, along with participatory collaboration efforts of the Burke Wellness Coalition, key stakeholders and City of Burke officials. Programming resource needs will be specific to the following activities:

  • An Active Living workshop venue will be provided by the City of Burke.
  • A walking campaign will include the distribution of Walk! Healthy South Dakota Community Walking Tool Kits for participants and the following items: walking pocket logs, pens, pedometers, and safety vests.
  • Walk audit team development meetings will include large aerial photos and maps of the City of Burke for the use of discussions. 
  • Walk audit supplies will include sling backpacks for walk audit team participants, along with clipboards and pencils.

Key contact: Ann Schwader |  605.842.1267

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