Thursday, July 2, 2009

What is a walkable community?

Hi everyone,

I thought this would be of interest to those of you who are involved with urban revitalization efforts. One of the things most desired in an urban community is walkability, or the ability of the occupants of a community to be able to safely and comfortably walk from one end of the community to another. To that end, I found some commonly accepted definitions of a walkable community. These come from Walk Boston, A Pedestrian Perspective on the Central Artery Project in Downtown Boston: A Report by the Pedestrian Issues Task Force (Boston, MA, 1994).

Hope this is useful!

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Coherence. A clear, understandable and organized sidewalk, street and land-use system consistent with the scale and function of the surrounding urban context.
The sidewalk and street system should link points of interest and activity, provide
clean lines of sight and travel, and include simple instructive signage.

Continuity. A pattern of design and usage that unifies the pedestrian system.

Equilibrium. A balance among transportation modes that will accommodate and encourage pedestrian participation.

Safety. Pedestrian protection from automobiles and bicycles. Adequate time
to cross intersections without interference. Physical separation from
fast-moving cars. Signalization protection when crossing intersections.

Comfort. Secure and negotiable paving materials for sidewalks and crosswalks.
Unobstructed passage on the sidewalk and at corners. Signals timed to enable
safe and quick crossings.

Sociability. A sense of hospitality and suitability for individual and community interactions. Sidewalks should provide for a variety of uses and activities characteristics of the diverse urban scene.

Accessibility. The opportunity for all individuals to utilize the pedestrian environment as fully as possible.

Efficiency. Simplicity and cost effectiveness in design and function. Minimum delay along a walking route.

Attractiveness. Clean, efficient and well maintained surroundings, with adjacent storefronts and activities that provide sidewalk interest.

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