Highway 99 Sub-Area Plan
Authors: Clark County Public Health
Location: Vancouver, Washington, United States
Completion Date: December 2008
Summary of the HIA
Proposed Policy or Project
This HIA looks at features of the Highway 99 built environment (existing and proposed) in terms of the potential health impacts. Goal of the Highway 99 Plan is to apply land use planning to build a healthy community that is economically viable, sustainable, active and socially cohesive.
Background and Policy Context
Highway 99 Sub-Area Plan is located in an urbanized area of unincorporated Clark County, Washington, located between the cities of Vancouver and Ridgefield. The project area is approximately 4 square miles, with a population of about 14,000. Between 2006 and 2024, the population of the Highway 99 Sub-area is projected to increase 1.7% to a population of 18,621. Of the 14,000, census information indicated that nearly 62% are of working age (19-64 years). The median household income for the planning area is approximately $46,780. Based on US Census data, 88% of respondents with the Highway 99 Sub-Area Plan identify themselves as white, of which 812 could be identified as Hispanic or Latino.
Clark County is proposing to amend the Clark County Comprehensive Growth Management Plan 2004-2024 to adopt a long-range plan for a sub-area of the county referred to as the Highway 99 Sub-Area. Once adopted, the Highway 99 Sub-Area Plan will establish land use and guiding principles and implementation strategies to guide future growth in the corridor. Therefore, conducting a HIA is essential in ensuring that health is considered in these plans. This plan takes into consideration the increasing population, rapid aging and the rising number of economically and ethnically diverse population.
Scope and Methods
The Clark County Planning staff worked with residents, businesses and property owners in identifying the scope of the HIA. Through a Community Design Forum, residents and stakeholders identified four categories that incorporate the vision of what the community should be: economically viable, sustainable, socially cohesive and active. The HIA will use an established socio-ecological model of health promotion to validate the plan’s health promoting features. This HIA focuses on the following health determinants: poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, reliance on motor vehicles. These are the major contributors to the five leading causes of disease in Washington: cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and unintentional injury.
Summary of Findings
The HIA provides a detailed matrix of health outcomes anticipated for this Highway 99 project. The following briefly discusses some main points from the study, but detailed topics may be referenced in the report.
Almost 1/3 of Americans who actively commute to work via public transit meet their daily requirements for physical activity (30 or more mins per day) (Besser & Dannenberg, 2005). Currently 70% of sub-area residents live within ¼ mile of a transit stop. Less served areas are predominantly lighter residential and higher income. Increased public transit use also decreases air pollution from mobile sources. Additionally, compact areas with lower levels of VMT tend to have reduced accident and injury rates (Ewing et al, 2003).
More equitable, affordable housing increases social cohesion, decreases displacement and homeslessness, decreases poverty and increases overall health (SFDPH, 2004). Relocating residents from public housing projects into neighborhoods with lower concentrations of poverty has been associated with weight loss, decline in reported stress levels among adults and reduced rates of injury among young males (Orr et al, 2003). However, this must be voluntary as forced relocation is linked to mental stress and loss of supportive networks.
Mixed income housing and neighborhoods increases social cohesion, promote increased physical activity, sustainability and livability of neighborhoods (Frumkin et al, 2004). Women living in mixed land use areas had lower BMI and CHD risk was lower by 20% than for those living in single-use uniform environments (Mobley, 2006).
Nearby grocery stores increase neighborhood walking and increase consumption of fruits and vegetables; this is associated with lower proportion of overweight and obesity (Morland, 2006). Low income and ethnic minority residents lack access, as there are currently no farmers markets, community gardens or fruit and vegetable stands in the sub-area.