Discovering Your Community's Walkability
A walkability checklist can help volunteers assess the safety and accessibility of the built environment surrounding the school and nearby neighborhoods. Going on a walk is the best way to discover your community’s strengths and weaknesses that impact walkability.
Members of the community to include on your walk
School administrators, parents, city planners, traffic engineers, park officials, law enforcement, mayor, council members, local/nearby business owners, and neighborhood association representatives.
Work together to improve walkability
Meet with everyone who attended the walk and compare notes. If you had an overall positive experience walking from your neighborhood to the school, you can move forward with your walking program. If you noticed areas that need improvement, identify the best people who can help fix the problem.
If you experienced problems with cars speeding down a street, report it to local law enforcement and work with traffic engineers to install traffic calming measures. If sidewalks vanish between neighborhoods, work with city planners to improve connectivity. Some issues can be easily addressed, while others may require a more strategic approach or policy change.
Stay the course
A walkable community does not happen by accident. It requires the involvement of many local leaders and citizens who are dedicated to ensuring that their children live in an active and healthy place. This checklist is your first step in identifying areas that you should be proud of and places that could still use some attention.
Use this checklist as a starting point to help you decide if your neighborhood is ready to support a walking program or if some changes need to be implemented before children can safely walk.
- Are there continuous sidewalks, pathways or bike lanes?
- Is there enough space between traffic and the sidwalk?
- Are the sidewalks in good condition or are there large cracks or dips that could use repair?
- Are there crosswalks? If so, are they clearly marked or raised and easily seen by drivers?
- Did parked cars or plants limit your ability to see oncoming traffic?
Is there busy traffic on the road?
- Is speeding an issue?
Did you feel safe?
- Was there adequate street lighting?
- Are there street trees that provide shade?