Write a Letter to the Editor
A letter to the editor (LTE) is a great way to spread awareness about your issue. Your LTE can be focused on more of an emotional experience with your cause, or it could be more straightforward and fact-based. We’ve included a sample letter to the editor below. Here are some key points to remember as you write your own letter:
- Your LTE should be short and concise.
- Include your name and contact information (including phone number) when you submit your letter. The publication will often call to verify that you truly submitted it.
- Talk about the issue from your perspective. Why is this important to you? Why do you think it would be important to people in your community?
SAMPLE LETTER 1:
My family enjoys walking and biking around Town. What worries me, though, is that it’s not always easy to find safe lanes, paths, sidewalks, or even crosswalks when my family is on the move. Whether it’s my weekly trip to the grocery store or feeling comfortable letting my son go down the street to a friend’s house, I’ve begun to worry about our safety when getting to and from places in our town.
That’s not the reaction I want to have—especially when I want my family to be active, social, and healthy. But in [TOWN], we lack the infrastructure for people without cars to get around safely. My sister’s town has bike and pedestrian lanes everywhere, and her kids can jump on a bike to get to friends’ and walk safely to school each day. I want that for my kids and for my town.
I know that healthy eating and active lifestyle choices have to go hand-in-hand for kids to grow up at a healthy weight, and I want to do my part in continuing the advancement of safe and healthy infrastructure in our state for walkers and bikers.
Creating streets built to share isn’t a one-stop shop. It takes continued prioritization by our community leaders, city planners, elected officials, and residents to insist that we are always striving to make safer environments for everyone—no matter how they choose to get around in the neighborhood. Crosswalks, sidewalks, bike lanes, and street lights are all a part of what makes up a safe atmosphere for people who aren’t traveling just by car. I’m raising my voice and sharing my story to help everyone understand the importance of active lifestyles to the overall health of our city’s residents; especially kids who rely heavily on having time to be active outdoors in order to do better in school and prevent poor health conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
I imagine a healthy future for my kids, and kids across Vermont, and I know that means access to safe and active travel routes. Join me as I share why support is needed, how safe walking and biking lanes impact our children, and what is needed to keep these projects moving forward.
SAMPLE LETTER 2:
I enjoy walking and biking around my town. However, like most of America, there is pretty much one choice for transportation: the car. Even where daily destinations are close to home, incomplete streets too often make them inaccessible by foot, bicycle, or public transportation. They are cut off by cul-de-sacs that increase walking distance, or by high-speed roads lacking bike lanes, sidewalks, comfortable transit stations, or safe crossings. While some streets do provide a safe pedestrian environment, it may not be a pleasant one – the absence of benches, scarce landscaping, and storefronts set back from the sidewalk do little to encourage walking.
Unfortunately, many of our local streets are not designed to accommodate us as we age. According to a recent report by AARP, most people over age 50 feel that their neighborhoods don’t have adequate sidewalks. Nearly half feel that streets near their homes are unsafe to cross on foot. I strongly encourage our town to consider a Complete Streets approach and take into consideration all users and modes of transportation when a road is being designed or redesigned. The accommodations are basic and include crosswalks, lane striping, curb cuts, sidewalks and timed crossing signals, where appropriate. It is important to note that Complete Streets do not only benefit older adults. Complete Streets also benefit public transit users, bicyclists, people with disabilities and pedestrians of all ages – including youth traveling to school and mothers pushing strollers. The livability of our communities depends on having safe travel choices. This is an opportunity to improve street design and create safer travel choices for everyone that should not be overlooked.
133 Fairfield Street
St. Albans, VT 05478