Santa Monica Wins National Award for Active Aging Pilot Program

Date:

The American Planning Association announced the winners of the 11th Annual Awards for Excellence in Sustainability at the 2024 National Planning Conference in Minneapolis. The City of Santa Monica took home the “Quality of Life” award for the Active Aging Pilot Program that ran from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023.

The purpose of the program was simple, to help Santa Monica residents over the age of 65 increase their access to shopping, medical appointments, and community and social activities. Some of the ways it accomplished that was to promote active living by hosting community walks and even bicycle safety classes. Some of that was teaching seniors how to use the transit and TAP maps.

The program was unique. It’s not uncommon for cities and planning departments to have programs to help residents live more active lifestyles. But usually the programs are focused on a specific event (Bike Month!) are focused on exercise (yoga or walking clubs). But the active aging program was designed to help seniors continue to live active lives as they age.

For example, the program didn’t just fund fun bike rides, but also ongoing safety classes designed to get seniors to consider riding bicycles for trips that they are probably making now in cars.

Unfortunately, the program was not renewed in the 2023-2024 budget and has been dormant ever since. While the program’s webpage is still online, many of the links are either outdated or have been redirected.

Santa Monica Next has reached out to the city to see if there are plans to bring back the program in the near future and will update this story when they get back to us.

For more on the Active Aging Pilot Program, you can read previous coverage in Santa Monica Next or read the award application from the city.

Damien Newton
Damien Newton
Damien is the executive director of the Southern California Streets Initiative which publishes Santa Monica Next, Streetsblog Los Angeles, Streetsblog San Francisco, Streetsblog California and Longbeachize.

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