Exercise science students create online tool for Bardstown Road pedestrians

January 28, 2019

Bellarmine trolley on Bardstown road
A team of exercise science students in Dr. Thomas R. Wójcicki's community wellness class developed a website to help pedestrians safely navigate major intersections along Bardstown Road in Louisville's Highlands neighborhood.
Several students in Wójcicki's class created "Bardstown Crossing," a web resource built in Google Maps that provides information about pedestrian accessibility at eight key intersections from Baxter Avenue to Eastern Parkway. The site, which has been visited more than 1,200 times, offers photos, ratings and descriptions of each intersection.
For example, the intersection of Bardstown Road and Eastern Parkway receives 9 points out of a possible 10. It has crosswalks, pedestrian crossing signals with audio, no sidewalk obstructions, adequate lighting and a curb cut, but people turning right on red can create potential hazards for pedestrians using the crosswalk.
The 400-level course introduces students to the fundamentals and core functions of public health via the study and practice of community health.
"My students learned how to use publicly-available datasets to access, retrieve, examine and interpret socio-demographic, environmental and health-related data that are unique to specific populations and geographical areas throughout Louisville Metro," said Wójcicki, an assistant professor of exercise science. "This project allowed students to identify the strengths and weaknesses of -- as well as the disparities between -- our local communities."
Wójcicki said the project was one of four community wellness initiatives completed by his students, who had half of a semester to design, deliver and disseminate their initiative.
"It is my hope, as an educator, that the lessons and skills learned will last a lifetime," he said. "Students in future classes will be expected to develop similar initiatives of their own, with work from previous semesters being used as examples for inspiration."
Giovanna Urizar, a senior exercise science major from San Jose, California, said this was one of the most hands-on courses she has experienced in her major. 
"We learned from direct contact with community leaders from health and wellness organizations and non-profit organizations in Louisville's urban areas," she said. "We also were given the opportunity to create our own initiatives to promote walking as a means of active transportation throughout Bellarmine's community and Louisville as a whole. The group that I served as a part of decided to analyze the walkability and safety of crosswalks along Bardstown Road. In doing so, I found that the best way to understand what a community needs is to get involved and turn that community into one you belong to!"
Louisville Metro Councilman Brandon Coan, whose district includes the area studied, highlighted the project in a recent constituent newsletter. He said the students deserved a good grade for their work.
"Shout-out to Alma Cordic, Ryan Cornett, Claire Egler, Brianna Morris, Emily Rosener and Giovanna Urizar of Dr. Thomas Wojcicki’s Exercise Science 415 class at Bellarmine University for completing their own Bardstown Road safety study – Bardstown Crossing – a map resource that allows users to see graded intersections on Bardstown Road from Baxter Avenue to Eastern Parkway and gives an idea of the presence of crosswalks, pedestrian signals, lighting and provides a greater understanding of the more troublesome areas," he wrote. "It sure looks like an A+ to me, Dr. T!"
In addition to the student-led community wellness initiatives, the course included:
  • a speaker series featuring guests such as Dr. Sarah Moyer, director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness.
  • more than 100 hours of community service with local nonprofit organizations focused on community development and wellness.

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