Photo Gallery | The Morningside Walking Loop
PITTSFIELD -- The city has stepped up efforts to get more residents, workers and visitors to see the community -- on foot.
Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi and Pittsfield health officials on Monday unveiled the Morningside Loop, the city's second designated pedestrian route to promote the health benefits of walking and running. The 2.74 mile course runs from the corner of Tyler Street and Woodlawn Avenue to The Common via First Street, looping back to the Tyler and Woodlawn intersection.
"Physical fitness is important for everyone," Bianchi said in prepared remarks, "and we have worked hard to increase outdoor activities and offer a healthy environment in Pittsfield, especially over this past summer,"
The Morningside Loop connects with the 2-mile downtown walking loop established in 2012. That route, from South Street to Berkshire Medical Center via North Street, has seen plenty of foot traffic, according to Gina Armstrong director of the Pittsfield Health Department.
"During Third Thursday when we're promoting [the Downtown Loop], we hear from people at BMC and the banks who have daily walking groups," she said.
City health officials want more people of all ages walking because it reduces stress, relieves pain and promotes relaxation. Walking 30 to 60 minutes per day cuts your risk of heart disease and stroke in half, or walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week can improve overall health and prevent disease.
The walking/runnng loops also are designed to connect pedestrians with key landmarks, such as The Common or businesses along Tyler Street, according to Diane Marcella, chairwoman of the Tyler Street Business Group.
"This helps get our neighborhoods connected and hopefully this snowballs into integrating the city," she said.
Armstrong expects the next walking loop to include the recreational path at Silver Lake off East Street that was completed in May. The pedestrian walkway was part of General Electric's cleanup and containment of PCBs in and around the 26-acre lake.
She said officials eventually will issue maps outlining several walking/running loops throughout the city.
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