Hello UT, My name is Karen Gallagher and I am a PhD student in the spatially integrated social sciences (SISS). I study links between land use, public health, and environmental sustainability. One of my major passions and academic interests is active living. Basically, active living is choosing to walk or bike places rather than driving. Since 2009 I have been studying active living, why people do it, why they don’t, where it works, where it doesn’t etc. In 2010 I started applying my studies through service with regional planning commissions, UT’s student government and administration, and other agencies. You may be surprised to find out that Toledo and the greater region has embarked on a huge effort to make holistic transportation a reality in your community! There are many things that need to happen to make walking and biking safer, more convenient, and attainable. One of them is having a dialogue about what projects are going on in the area. It’s also very important to talk about rules of the road and debunk misconceptions about multi-modal travel (walking, biking, taking public transit, and using privately owned vehicles). Through this blog I hope to have that conversation with you.
Today, I want to tell you about the University of Toledo Complete Streets Committee. The UT-CSC is dedicated to seeing that UT equally supports all modes of travel. A major step towards this goal was working with the administration to create a university complete streets policy. Now, in the early stages of planning contractors must consider the needs of pedestrians and cyclists. Additionally, the UT-CSC works with the City of Toledo, the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, Live Well Greater Toledo, and the Community Wellness Organization to make walking and biking safer for you. I will be sure to update you of the happenings of the UT-CSC and other organizations as they come about. I look forward to chatting with you and learning your perspectives about walking and biking in the Toledo Region!
Karen Gallagher is a UT graduate, completing a B.S. of Science in exercise science with a concentration of athletic training in 2004. Once she became certified as an athletic trainer, she worked as a corporate wellness manager in the automotive industry. As part of her job, she served as a mediator between the United Auto Workers and management to ensure the health and safety of factory workers. Through her work, she learned that people have a vested interest in health and wellness but find the barriers to living a healthful life insurmountable. Her interactions with the people she encountered inspired her to find ways to reduce environmental barriers to health. She returned to school and studied active living while taking classes towards a M.A. in recreation where she became interested in the links between environmental sustainability, public health, and land-use policy. This interest ultimately led her to the PhD program in spatially integrated social sciences at UT. Her research interests include active living, storm water management, and epidemiology. She is passionate about empowering community members to use scientific findings for advocacy which results in the betterment of their neighborhoods. When she completes her PhD she hopes to work at the federal level on policy issues pertaining to health and environmental sustainability.
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