Goals and policies

Efforts to improve community health and wellness are integrally linked with other important Plan Elements, including land use patterns, transportation, urban design, and environmental and economic sustainability, all of which have an impact on public health. Policies to encourage the development of pedestrian-friendly communities, for instance, can attract young professionals seeking a more vibrant urban environment in which to live and work. This not only helps achieve economic development goals by attracting workers with the skills needed for the region to compete in a global economy, but by reducing auto dependence also helps meet air quality improvement goals, while promoting a more active healthy lifestyle among residents.

The following goals were developed to address the key issues identified and to provide the framework for the policies and actions the City will take as a result of the SA Tomorrow process. The policies are not associated with specific goals, but are grouped by common themes.

Community Health and Wellness Goals

  • CHW Goal 1

    Healthy food, health services, health literacy and proven education programs are easily accessible to all residents, regardless of location, income, age, race, ethnic background or ability level.

  • CHW Goal 2

    San Antonio residents are physically active and have safe and convenient access to recreation opportunities.

  • CHW Goal 3

    All San Antonio residents and businesses have access to sufficient clean, sustainable and affordable water during foreseeable conditions.

  • CHW Goal 4

    San Antonio provides a range of convenient, safe and comfortable active transportation options for all users and abilities and many regularly use multimodal options such as walking, biking and transit. (See also TC Goal 5)

  • CHW Goal 5

    San Antonio is a Vision Zero City that is committed to eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

  • CHW Goal 6

    All San Antonio residents enjoy a high level of safety, physical and mental health and well- being.

  • CHW Goal 7

    San Antonio’s air quality is better than state and national standards. (See also NRES Goal 7)

Community Health and Wellness Policies

  • CHW P1: Increase coordination, education and awareness of the City’s social, physical and mental health programs and sustainability goals in formats accessible to all residents.

  • CHW P2: Establish information programs for developers to convey the role of the built environment in achieving sustainability and community health goals.

  • CHW P3: Partner with healthcare organizations to promote, support and expand comprehensive public health services and programs, including substance abuse-free lifestyles and substance use prevention programs.

  • CHW P4: Partner with physical and mental healthcare organizations and nonprofits to promote, support and expand the availability and quality of senior services and amenities citywide.

  • CHW P5: Study and promote best practices to identify and address connections between community health and economic development including living wages, the effects of poverty, education and literacy.

  • CHW P6: Consider health impacts (such as conducting health impact assessments (HIA)) when conducting Community, Corridor and Regional Center Plans.

  • CHW P7: Partner with school districts to assess the health and well-being of youth by utilizing the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS).

  • CHW P8: Identify and address gaps in public transit, pedestrian and bicycle access to parks, open space, recreation sites and healthcare destinations.

  • CHW P9: Coordinate with public transit agencies and organizations on public transit network improvements that increase access to healthcare facilities.

  • CHW P10: Increase the number and quality of parks and ensure a more equitable distribution of park and recreation opportunities.

  • CHW P11: Provide access to and equitable distribution of other green spaces (which can include community gardens, orchards, school grounds, trails, greenways and creekways).

  • CHW P12: Evaluate and develop a plan to address food desert neighborhoods.

  • CHW P13: Implement policies to increase accessibility and affordability of healthy food options (natural grocery stores, natural and/or organic sections in grocery stores, school programs, farmer’s markets, community gardens and urban agriculture/retail opportunities) within walking distance of all neighborhoods (1/4 to 1/2 mile depending on amenity).

  • CHW P14: Implement policies to promote education about nutrition and healthy foods and create programs to disincentivize unhealthy, highly processed and “fast” foods and/or incentivize nutritious, healthy, and culturally appropriate foods in new and creative ways.

  • CHW P15: Identify important farm lands for production of healthy foods in the San Antonio vicinity and protect them from development using zoning, subdivision and other regulatory or incentive-based tools.

  • CHW P16: Revise zoning requirements and guidelines for the Urban Agricultural District to allow edible landscapes and supportive produce retail.

  • CHW P17: Partner with businesses, healthcare providers, senior and childcare centers and residents to promote local physical activity education programs and active living projects.

  • CHW P18: Provide increased parks and recreation amenities city-wide, with a particular focus on areas of the city considered as under-served based on regularly updated indicators.

  • CHW P19: Provide access to other green spaces (which can include community gardens, orchards, school grounds, trails, greenways and creekways) city-wide, with a particular focus on areas of San Antonio considered as under-served based on regularly updated indicators.

  • CHW P20: Partner and coordinate with area school districts through the SPARK program to allow community recreation and gardening options in school activity spaces and facilities.

  • CHW P21: Study and promote best practices for how zoning code revisions can help address walkability and recreation/play opportunities.

  • CHW P22: Prioritize capital improvements and incentive programs that build, expand, and improve pedestrian, bicycle, and transit-oriented infrastructure.

  • CHW P23: Continue to encourage and implement programs and projects that make the City’s bicycle network more accessible, direct and continuous in order to increase bicycling safety and opportunities for daily bicycle travel for riders of all levels and abilities. (See also TC P9)

  • CHW P24: Encourage and incentivize development in locations that provide or are in close proximity to many destinations within walking or bicycling distance.

  • CHW P25: Develop a system of safe routes to schools and other public activity areas; create partnerships with businesses, schools and other organizations to establish the system and to promote the program. (See also PFCS P38)

  • CHW P26: Implement accessibility solutions for issues identified in the City’s ADA Pedestrian Transition Plan, in all public realm improvement projects.

  • CHW P27: Develop a safe and convenient pedestrian travel network with sidewalks and trails integrated into the transportation system and activity areas such as schools, libraries, shopping and neighborhood centers. (See also TC P11)

  • CHW P28: Continue to promote and implement Vision Zero to ensure the safety of all people in the community.

  • CHW P29: Implement policies to achieve air quality levels within the thresholds established by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), with particular reference to automobile and truck emissions and CPS emissions. (See also NRES P34)

  • CHW P30: Enhance San Antonio’s tree canopy and develop a robust street tree program. (See also NRES P39)

  • CHW P31: Develop new and utilize existing public/private partnership programs with public agencies and a diversity of residents, community groups and organizations to monitor the city’s air quality. (See also NRES P38)

  • CHW P32: Continue to enhance programs and policies (including incentives for electric and hybrid vehicles) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020 and 50% by 2040. (See also NRES P35)

  • CHW P33: Increase the amount of local renewable energy production, with 30% of energy use from renewable sources by 2025 and 50% by 2040. (See also NRES P27)

  • CHW P34: Develop and implement a management plan for land use activities that includes best management practices, based on a scientific study, which will protect the recharge and contributing zones of the Edwards Aquifer and other area waterways.

  • CHW P35: Encourage land intensive development patterns to locate outside of the Edwards Aquifer recharge and contributing zones and preservation reaches of rivers and creeks. (See also GCF P26 and NRES P11).

  • CHW P36: Coordinate with SARA and other agencies to regularly review and update, and as necessary as part of the standard UDC amendment process, plans, standards and regulations for development on or near aquifers, flood zones and stream restoration areas based on best management practices and scientific studies.

  • CHW P37: Identify and acquire land in aquifer recharge areas for use as city open space utilizing voter-approved sales tax proceeds.

  • CHW P38: Jointly work with SAWS and CPS to determine the impact of utility service area expansion by coordinating the providers' service areas with the City’s Comprehensive Plan and growth policies. (See also NRES P13)

  • CHW P39: Develop new and utilize existing partnership programs between public agencies and private citizens to monitor the city's water quality. (See also NRES P16)

  • CHW P40: Support the efforts of and collaborate with appropriate governmental entities to monitor, protect and ensure water quality within the Edwards Aquifer. (See also NRES P17 and GCF P32)