Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sidewalks not always found on the most walkable streets

Many equate sidewalks with walkability. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Sidewalks are nice, no argument, but putting new sidewalks where there are no destinations -- like stores, schools or parks -- does not transform the street into a wallker's paradise thanks to the addition of the pedestrian pavement.

Note the residential street above in Leeuarden, Netherlands. This street rates a Walk Score of 92 despite lacking sidewalks and dedicating a huge amount of roadway to parked cars. Space for walking is tight.

Why does a street, clearly unfit for walking, rate such a lofty score? Location, location, location. Almost everything a person needs is within a 20 minute walk -- even sidewalks.

Maybe the urban planners in London, Ontario, could learn from the Leeuarden experience.

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