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Thread: Most Walkable Cities

  1. #1
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    Most Walkable Cities

    http://www.planetizen.com/news/item.php?id=16182

    Notice how many "walkable" cities are also the cities where lots of people would like to live if they had the choice.

    The ten are:

    Arlington, VA:* On the cusp of the nationís capital, it may come as no surprise that 23 percent of the citiesí workers use public transportation to get around.* Keeping on their feet maybe a way of life since 35 percent of Arlingtonians walk for exercise.

    San Francisco, CA: Getting to work by foot is not uncommon for this city by the bay with nine percent of residents walking and two percent biking.* The walking conducive city touts 32 percent of its residents walk for exercise and 35 percent buy some type of athletic shoes.

    Seattle, WA:* Itís not too far-fetched to expect a healthy lifestyle from residents living in Seattle.* A whopping 35 percent walk for exercise and 36 percent buy some type of athletic shoes.

    Portland, OR:* Residents of this Northwestern city spend a good deal of time on their feet walking their dogs.* Close to 22 percent are dog owners.

    Boston, MA: *For many Bostonians, walking to work or using public transportation is a way of life with 45 percent of the population doing one or the other.

    Washington, DC:* Getting around the nationís capital by subway or bus is preferred by 35 percent of the districtís residents.* And when they are not working, 11 percent are playing sports or walking for fitness.

    New York City, NY:* Getting around the Big Apple is easy for New Yorkers with 51 percent of residents using public transportation and 12 percent walking to work.

    Eugene, OR: Walking is a way of life for 32 percent of residents living in this Oregon city.* Whether itís walking the dog or pushing a stroller, twenty-two percent are dog owners and eight percent own baby strollers.

    Jersey City, NJ: Public transportation or walking is how 47 of the people who work in this gritty town get around.* And when they are not working, 12 percent of the residents play sports or exercise once a week.

    Denver, CO:* This versatile city lends itself to those in search of an active lifestyle.* Eleven percent of residents walk for fitness or exercise and 12 percent play sports or exercise once a week

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Future Planner's avatar
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    Last year San Diego made the list. Sure, there are some districts/neighborhoods that are walkable and there are lots of people out walking (downtown, hillcrest, beach communities, maybe university heights, la jolla). On the whole, however, most of the city is sprawlsville and its rare to see pedestrians. I'll have to check into their criteria to what constitutes a walkable city.

  3. #3
    On the whole, however, most of the city is sprawlsville and its rare to see pedestrians. I'll have to check into their criteria to what constitutes a walkable city.
    Ever notice how there is only one grocery store in downtown? Walkable, that's laughable.

  4. #4
    Suspended Bad Email Address teshadoh's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The Irish One
    Ever notice how there is only one grocery store in downtown? Walkable, that's laughable.
    But if you review the majority of US cities, San Diego is indeed more walkable than most. At least I found that to be truer than my home region in the south.

    Speaking of which, no one will believe what city made it to 21, I suppose the homeless were counted

    (it was Atlanta)

  5. #5
    Cirrus's avatar
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    That's just the top 10. HERE is the full list of 200 cities.

    Rounding out the top 25 are:
    11. Alexandria, VA
    12. Madison, WI
    13. Glendale, CA
    14. Philadelphia, PA
    15. Yonkers, NY
    16. Spokane, WA
    17. Stamford, CT
    18. Pittsburgh, PA
    19. Minneapolis, MN
    20. Sunnyvale, CA
    21. Atlanta, GA
    22. Salt Lake City, UT
    23. Fort Collins, CO
    24. Raleigh, NC
    25. Lexington-Fayette, KY

    ... and the bottom 10 are:
    191. Hampton, VA
    192. Lancaster, CA
    193. Fontana, CA
    194. El Paso, TX
    195. Cape Coral, FL
    196. Moreno Valley, CA
    197. Bakersfield, CA
    198. Palmdale, CA
    199. Brownsville, TX
    200. Laredo, TX

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plus
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    My fair city did not make the list,
    so either we are not walkable or were not evaluated ?

    Interesting rankings -
    52 Louisville, KY
    86 Indianapolis, IN
    143 Ft. Wayne, IN
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  7. #7
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA
    My fair city did not make the list,
    so either we are not walkable or were not evaluated ?
    Same here, although Rockford, IL made the list at a very surprising 124! I would have placed it just below #300 in walkability.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Who came up with the criteria?
    The APMA selected the criteria based on three independent factors related to walking: Active Lifestyle measures, Work-Related Walking measures, and Fitness and Sports measures.

    What criteria were used to determine a cityís walkability?

    1 - % Athletic Shoe Buyers
    2 - % Walk for Exercise
    3 - % Hike/Backpack
    4 - % Go to Beaches
    5 - % Dog Owners
    6 - % Baby Stroller Owners
    7 - % Go to Museums
    8 - % Walk-to-Work
    9 - % Use Public Transportation
    10 - Golf Index
    11 - Walking for Health Index
    12 - % Bike-to-Work
    13 - % Walk for Fitness
    14 - % Play Sports/Exercise


    Taken from the American Podiatric Medical Association website:
    http://www.apma.org/s_apma/sec.asp?CID=251&DID=16779
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  9. #9

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    Well, my hometown (Fort Wayne) appears to have scored in the bottom half.

    One problem is that despite a relatively stagnant population and job market, Fort Wayne sprawls more and more. I bet from northeast to southwest you are looking at 25-30 miles??? Plus, the midwestern climate and terrain is less amenable to the active lifestyle of a San Diego or a Denver.

    On the other hand, there is a network of fantastic river trails, the old neighborhoods are quite pleasant in scale and architecture, and there are a lot of lovely parks.

    My current hometown (Vacaville, CA): Outside the historic downtown area and a quite nice creekside trail system, there are problems. For one, the pedestrian environment is screamingly boring. Sound walls, no trees for shade, and mindlessly replicated stucco boxes. Second, commercial life is concentrated in commercal pods by the freeway. I don't care if you have sidewalks, funnelling traffic to gigantic commercial strips bordered by six lane and four lane arterials doesn't encourage walking for daily life/errands. Of course, on the other hand, neighborhood shopping centers are nicely spaced in Vacaville, so one could do more daily life tasks than in some cities.

    There are hillside open space where you can hike, though, and the sidewalk network is pretty much complete throughout most of the city.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Athletic shoes is the #1 criteria? I walk a ton and I don't wear those. I wear boots. They last a lot longer and protect me from the elements better. Sounds like these folks are selling something.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    Buffalo came in at #130. Binghamton, where I go to school was not on the list. Buffalo being at 130 is not to surprising. With the majority of the population in the suburbs and most shopping there as well there is often little to walk to anyway.

  12. #12
    Suspended Bad Email Address teshadoh's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA
    Who came up with the criteria?
    The APMA selected the criteria based on three independent factors related to walking: Active Lifestyle measures, Work-Related Walking measures, and Fitness and Sports measures.

    What criteria were used to determine a cityís walkability?

    1 - % Athletic Shoe Buyers
    2 - % Walk for Exercise
    3 - % Hike/Backpack
    4 - % Go to Beaches
    5 - % Dog Owners
    6 - % Baby Stroller Owners
    7 - % Go to Museums
    8 - % Walk-to-Work
    9 - % Use Public Transportation
    10 - Golf Index
    11 - Walking for Health Index
    12 - % Bike-to-Work
    13 - % Walk for Fitness
    14 - % Play Sports/Exercise


    Taken from the American Podiatric Medical Association website:
    http://www.apma.org/s_apma/sec.asp?CID=251&DID=16779

    That clears things up a little - because a number of those points could - especially in Atlanta - involve driving to in order to pursue the walking event. People in Atlanta, drive to a park, where they walk in their athetic shoes while exercising or backpacking as they push their baby stroller & later golf.

  13. #13
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    Now there's a Planetizen article on cities without children. Many of those are the "walkable" cities chosen by the podietrists.

  14. #14
    I am a little suspicious of this list in that I find it hard to believe that LA is more walkable than Chicago. Also I grew up in Buffalo and though it could never compete in the top ten for walkabilityit for sure is more walkable than Detroit which is hardly walkable at all.


    The criteria seems a bit funny also. Buying sneakers is the number one criteria item? Huh?? Or going to beaches? What???? What does going to beaches have to do with walking. Poor land locked cities might not even have beaches.

    How 'bout busy active commercial streets , city density, density of stores and businesses as criteria? these things were not even on the list. I guess since they are foot doctors they are focusing on shoes or something.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    I am really surprised not to see Philadelphia on the list. Wasn't it number one in some other walkable city survey?

    What the hell do golfing and riding a bike have to do with walking? This criteria is way out of whack. "Walking to work," "walking to the store," and "walking to school" should be the top two criteria. What about whether or not a city has a "pedestrian advocacy group?"

  16. #16
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cirrus
    ... and the bottom 10 are:
    191. Hampton, VA
    192. Lancaster, CA
    193. Fontana, CA
    194. El Paso, TX
    195. Cape Coral, FL
    196. Moreno Valley, CA
    197. Bakersfield, CA
    198. Palmdale, CA
    199. Brownsville, TX
    200. Laredo, TX
    Gee, with most of the criteria (sneaker purchase, exercise, golfing, etc.) requiring $$, is it any surprise that these are some of the poorest cities in the nation? And the top ten are also some of the richest.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    I am really surprised not to see Philadelphia on the list. Wasn't it number one in some other walkable city survey?

    What the hell do golfing and riding a bike have to do with walking? This criteria is way out of whack. "Walking to work," "walking to the store," and "walking to school" should be the top two criteria. What about whether or not a city has a "pedestrian advocacy group?"
    That's right; that's not a list of walkable cities; that's an advertisement. Commercial speech masquerading as objective fact. Has that in common with most of these supposedly objective lists.

    Here's a list of U.S. cities I find walkable:

    New York
    Boston
    San Francisco
    Philadelphia
    Washington
    Charleston
    Miami Beach
    maybe Savannah
    much of Chicago
    much of New Orleans
    a handful of smaller cities, like Newport RI, and quite a few college towns, like Princeton.

    This is also a list of cities with few or virtually no parking lots.

    Parking lots make cities not walkable; no one likes walking beside a parking lot; and if you put in enough parking lots, driving becomes a necessity because you've put so much distance between things.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally posted by teshadoh
    But if you review the majority of US cities, San Diego is indeed more walkable than most. At least I found that to be truer than my home region in the south.

    Speaking of which, no one will believe what city made it to 21, I suppose the homeless were counted

    (it was Atlanta)
    Well, there are certain neighborhoods that are walkable, and others *ahem* not so much. Even the nuclei of sprawl like Marietta, Madison and Alpharetta have old downtowns from the 20's and before. These actually may be infused with walkable commerce by all the residential edgelessness around them.

    I was walking up Peachtree this morning and was struck by all the jaywalking and sidewalk crowding on a 6 block section. Sure its got a ways to go & one out-of-the-way grocery store, but it has its bright spots.

  19. #19
    Kobayashi's avatar
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    Mobile, AL would probably rank 10,000th

  20. #20
    Suspended Bad Email Address teshadoh's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by afcunningham33
    Well, there are certain neighborhoods that are walkable, and others *ahem* not so much. Even the nuclei of sprawl like Marietta, Madison and Alpharetta have old downtowns from the 20's and before. These actually may be infused with walkable commerce by all the residential edgelessness around them.

    I was walking up Peachtree this morning and was struck by all the jaywalking and sidewalk crowding on a 6 block section. Sure its got a ways to go & one out-of-the-way grocery store, but it has its bright spots.
    I would definitely not disagree with you - but ranked at 21? As much as I am irritated by flagrant remarks that Atlanta is not walkable, I do realize that the city has only a smaller urban core - most of it is comprised of streetcar suburbs. But basically I do agree much of Atlanta's intown core is walkable - my wife & I rode our bikes today in fact & I regularly walk from downtown to home - but Atlanta isn't among THE MOST walkable cities in the US.

    But I agree regarding the bright spots - there are enough bright spots in Atlanta to keep me satisfied here.

  21. #21
    Member Nor Cal Planner Girl's avatar
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    The last time I checked, #198 Palmdale, Calif. & #192 Lancaster, Calif. WERE LOCATED IN THE HIGH DESERT! so, I guess they naturally wouldn't be considered two of the most walkable cities! (duh )

  22. #22
    Cyburbian AubieTurtle's avatar
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    The criteria reminds me of a list that came out a while back on the best and worst cities for singles. Atlanta is usually in the top five of these types of list (over 1,000,000 singles of each gender in the greater sprawlopolitian area) but in this list it was at the bottom. Who created the list? Axe Bodyspray. Now could it be that single people in Atlanta are a bit less likely to use a perfume/cologne that look like a Windex bottle than other parts of the country and that is the cause of the low rating.

    Now some of the criteria makes sense but I'd like to see other items such as per capita pedestrian deaths, miles of sidewalks (along with some sort of quality index), and other things that make walking easier. But rating the quality of sidewalks for hundreds of cities around the country is difficult. Find sales figures of athletic shoes is as easy as sending off an email to the PR department of the shoe manufactures trade association.
    As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. - H.L. Mencken

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    poorer areas

    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    Gee, with most of the criteria (sneaker purchase, exercise, golfing, etc.) requiring $$, is it any surprise that these are some of the poorest cities in the nation? And the top ten are also some of the richest.
    Really, owning dogs? Thats a fairly demographic defining activity. From my experience not many poor people in the city own and walk dogs, although they easily walk and use mass transit (implicit walking) way more than any demograhic group.

    chiz,
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  24. #24
          mentarman's avatar
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    In the study's defense, I don't see anywhere on their site where they call this a list of the most walkable cities. The person who started this thread said that. The APMA calls it a list of the best walking cities, which isn't the same thing. They used three broad categories -- healthy lifestyles, modes of transportation to/from work, and involvement in fitness and sports activities -- only one of which is what I think most of us think of when we think of walkable cities. Then on their site they do call it a list of walker-friendly cities, but again, I think they are thinking of different things, as evidenced by their list of criteria. It's a group of podiatrists, for goodness sake. When they say walking, they figure anyone tottering around on their feet is good enough, not the same as what most urbanist type people think of. So the podiatrists are just as interested in cities where people drive somewhere to hop out and play golf, walk around a park, stroll the beach, etc., as in cities with active, urban, pedestrian-scaled streetscapes.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Trail Nazi's avatar
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    I must say that it is a joke about Orlando being one of the most walkable cities in America since it has some of the highest bike/ped accidents and deaths in the nation.

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