Dan Savage points out this MSNBC article about the most walkable cities in America. DC ranks first, with Seattle sixth. Dan is stunned that Seattle could be sixth without rail transit, but I’m not suprised. Seattle is built around dense urban villages, like DC is, and has a good commute pattern centered around a few job centers in the City that has allowed a few nice walkable neighborhoods.

Since the study is based on per-capita walkable places, NYC ranks very low, ironically because density is so high.

But I am in disbelief that Los Angeles could be ranked 12th. In Downtown LA, many of the side walks aren’t even wide enough to put a few people in a row on the side walk, and I rarely saw anyone walking down the street anywhere in the city. See the image, the side walk is no more than four feet wide.

What to make of the Puget Sound Business Journal’s analysis?

Cities were ranked by their walkable urban places divided by population. Seattle scored high, even though it’s the largest city in the rankings without a meaningful rail transit system.

Survey coordinator Christopher Leinberger, a real estate developer and visiting fellow at Brookings, said rail transit plays a “significant role in catalyzing walkable urban development,” with 65 percent of the walkable urban places being served by rail transit service.

5 Replies to “Walkable Cities”

  1. Los Angeles Downtown can be walkable, it depends on which section you are in, and it’s gradually getting better. Also, Los Angeles is so much more than just downtown. LA is built around lots of little centers built all over, and many of the communities are very walkable (and the weather helps too).

  2. Especially if density goes up, I don’t know how people expect anyone to move around without either “punishment tolls” aka congestion pricing or separate guideway (rail) transit.

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