Five Important Ingredients to a Walkable Community


Walk San Diego, March 5, 2013

What makes a community more walkable?

There are 5 basic ingredients to make your neighborhood a place where people of all ages and abilities have safe, enjoyable, and easy access to their community on foot.1

1. Good Sidewalk

The basic design of a good sidewalk or walk way should include:

  • Pedestrian Zone: wide, level walkway in good condition where pedestrians can walk and wheelchairs can roll.

  • Parkway or Buffer Zone: allows for vegetation and/or street furniture and buffers pedestrians from vehicles.

  • Curb Zone: border between the street and sidewalk with ramps for disabled and others to easily access.

2. Safe and Easy Street Crossings

Street crossings should be available every 300 feet, about half the length of a block and should include:

  • Painted or Decorative Crosswalk: makes the crosswalk easier to see

  • Stop bar: painted line that stops cars before entering the crosswalk

  • Curb Extension/Bulb-out: reduces pedestrian crossing distance; makes pedestrians more visible to drivers

  • Median or Island: provides a halfway refuge point that allows pedestrians to cross safely

3. Traffic Calming

Street improvements can slow vehicle speeds, increase pedestrian safety, and allow for smooth traffic flow:

  • Curt Extension/Bulb-out: slows the speed of turning vehicles

  • Road Diet: slows traffic by reducing number of lanes and lane widths

  • Other: roundabout, median, pedestrian island, and diagonal parking

4. Safety, Comfort, and Beauty

Street enhancements make walking feel safer, more comfortable and more inviting:

  • Pedestrian Lighting

  • Landscaping & Trees

  • Clean & Well-maintained Sidewalks

  • Amenities: such as drinking fountains, bathrooms, and benches

  • Public Art

5. Great Destinations

A community is more vibrant and desirable if it has great walking destinations like:

  • Shopping: stores, markets, restaurants, etc.

  • Services: clinics, post office, bank, etc.

  • Transportation: trolley, bus stop, train

  • Recreation: parks, gardens, etc.

Photo:1. Bicycle Federation of America. (1998). Campaign to Make America Walkable: Creating Walkable Communities.

Click for Walkability Guide PDF





Back to News

Home   |   Public Review  |   FAQ   |   News & Events  |   Living Green   |   Your Voice   |    Contact Us   |   Legal Notice