Why all the buzz about “walkability?” “Pedestrian-friendly” communities are in high demand, and for good reason. Safe, comfortable places to walk improve our quality of life. PEDS, metro Atlanta’s pedestrian advocacy organization, provides this top-ten list of benefits.
- Less traffic congestion
One-fourth of all car trips are less than a mile. Sidewalks and safe crossings enable you to reach destinations on foot, which reduces traffic congestion and air pollution.
- Higher property values
Homes in pedestrian-friendly communities make good investments. Sidewalks and quiet, tree-lined streets boost the value of your home.
- Lower transportation costs
Fewer car trips=lower gasoline costs. Each time you walk instead of drive, you save money on gas and maintenance. The savings add up.
- More places to have fun
A walkable downtown attracts more stores and creates a thriving place to shop, eat, and find entertainment. Meanwhile, reduced demand for parking leaves more open space for parks and playgrounds.
- Stronger communities
Where pleasant walking conditions exist, residents are more likely to know their neighbors and feel connected to their community, which leads to increased civic involvement.
- Reduced crime
Vibrant, walkable neighborhoods have more eyes on the street. People look out for each other, which deters crime.
- Better access for non-drivers
Sidewalks enable children, seniors, and others who do not drive to get around on foot.
- Less stress
Chauffering children and driving in commuter traffic can be a hassle. Being outdoors and walking at your own pace can be enjoyable quality time with your family.
- Less pollution
Walkable trips cause no harmful emissions. Also, walkers inhale less poisonous fumes than people inside a slow moving car, reducing their risk of asthma.
- Better health
People who live in walkable communities are more active, enjoy cleaner air, and experience fewer car crashes. Walking helps prevent heart disease, diabetes, and strokes.
Four things you can do to make your community walkable:
- Request sidewalks for existing and proposed developments.
- Participate in public meetings and other community planning events.
- Ask your elected officials to establish funding goals for pedestrian facilities.
- Support advocates promoting pedestrian-friendly policy change by joining PEDS.