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Old 04-26-2014, 03:01 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
To me, "walkable" has less to do with sidewalks or traffic-patterns favoring pedestrians, than with close proximity of stores and places of interest, places essential for basic livelihood. Mere density isn't enough. Downtown Manhattan is very dense, but in my opinion not walkable. Where is the local supermarket, or at least individual shops such as butcher, baker, green-grocer and the like. Dry-cleaners? Public library? Post-office, drug store, coffee shop? If it's just office buildings and high-end restaurants, it's not walkable.
What's your definition of Downtown Manhattan? I assume you mean in and around the Financial District, not the usual downtown as in the lower part of Manhattan (south of Houston or maybe 14th street)

Supermarket? Overpriced Gristedes a couple blocks from Wall Street:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=super...08.74,,0,-1.32

Also one in Battery Park City, which is a short walk from office areas. Dry cleaners? There's at least half a dozens. It's the Financial District, a lot need formal clothing.

This corner has two coffee shops and a CVS, plus many other stores. World Trade Center is two blocks away:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=cvs&h...,81.14,,0,1.19

About half a dozen post offices, how do you think all those office get their mail processed? Library is a bit of a walk in Battery Park City but not that far. Plenty of cheap places to get food, search around.
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Old 04-26-2014, 05:29 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
This thread has had a number of definitons. I've given multiple ones myself on the thread.
Extending that further, it's particularly hard to have one definition as it's more of a sliding scale. There are places that are obviously walkable, and one obviously not walkable. Different people will rate different factors differently, but with a big enough difference most will agree.

At the bottom end of the scale, you could have:

1) The only people who'd walk are those who don't value their time, it takes a long time to get most places on foot
2) Almost no one walks, seeing someone walk is unusual

But I think the amount of people actually walking is a good indicator.
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Old 04-26-2014, 07:10 PM
 
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Pedestrians don't have to come first. IMO, a place can be defined as "walkable" if you can complete some (not all) necessary activities by walking from your home or other starting point (job, transit station, etc.)
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Old 04-26-2014, 08:30 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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I think street design is really key to walkability. The crosswalk is useless if the speed of the road is too fast for the cars to see you and they drive by without stopping. Or the signal is timed so cars get 5 minutes of green and Ty walkers have to push the button for the signal waiting 3-5 minutes for each crossing.

I agree that seeing other people walking is important too. Also safe infrastructure: wide enough sidewalks, well maintained sidewalks and sufficient lighting. Trees for shade and trash cans are important too.

There are cities nearby that are deemed walkable, because they have walkable downtowns. But it is difficult to approach downtown out of a car, so most people basically drive to get somewhere walkable. Which isn't true walkability in my book.

Good book on the topic.
http://www.amazon.com/Walkable-City-.../dp/0865477728

Easy read..not too wonky.
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Old 04-26-2014, 08:43 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post

There are cities nearby that are deemed walkable, because they have walkable downtowns. But it is difficult to approach downtown out of a car, so most people basically drive to get somewhere walkable. Which isn't true walkability in my book.
Difficult in the sense of bad roads or just too far?

Most Long Island suburban don't really have anything I'd deem pedestrian-hostile anywhere close, maybe a few bad intersections. Western Nassau is often different, from higher densities, but further out most people aren't walking distance to those downtowns. So they drive.
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Old 04-26-2014, 09:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
There seem to be conflicting ideas on "walkability." For some it means sidewalks and crosswalks. For others it means destinations are in a short distance. For others it is based on street design.

So in your eyes, how would you define walkable?
For me, it's the whole package. There are sidewalks -- well-maintained sidewalks -- and crosswalks and good street design, with the amenities of life within reasonable walking distance. A subdivision with beautiful sidewalks but only houses would not be "walkable" in my book, nor would a location with all sorts of amenities but lacking safe sidewalks and street crossings.

That said, in the context of this forum when people are asking for neighborhood suggestions, I generally attempt to figure out what they mean by "walkable." For some people, it's just that they live within walking distance of a school and a park and their kids can get their on their own. For some, they don't even care about sidewalks, but want to be able to walk to a coffee place or some other kind of gathering place. For others, like me, it means that they can (safely) access much or most of what you need on foot -- although even within the "walkable" neighborhood spectrum there's a huge range; sometimes whether a neighborhood can be considered "walkable" also depends on local context, too; fair or not, I think neighborhoods are often deemed walkable or not based on how they stack up against other neighborhoods in their own city or metro area. "Walkable" really depends so much on context.
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Old 04-26-2014, 09:24 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Difficult in the sense of bad roads or just too far?

Most Long Island suburban don't really have anything I'd deem pedestrian-hostile anywhere close, maybe a few bad intersections. Western Nassau is often different, from higher densities, but further out most people aren't walking distance to those downtowns. So they drive.
Badly designed roads.

Many of these places do potentially have people in easy walking distance. But it might be across an 8 lane road. Or around a freeway on/off ramp with unprotected crosswalks and a practical speed of 45-50mph. Or disconnected sidewalks, sidewalks to nowhere.

The streets nearby these places have fairly frequent pedestrian deaths. The cities are much smaller than my city but have the same number of pedestrian and cyclist deaths, if not more.
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Old 04-27-2014, 05:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
There seem to be conflicting ideas on "walkability." For some it means sidewalks and crosswalks. For others it means destinations are in a short distance. For others it is based on street design.

So in your eyes, how would you define walkable?
Walkable to me means I can walk instead of drive to most of places I need to go on a regular basis.

Grocery store, library, restaurants, job, transit center... are clustered together within a mile from my home. There are sidewalks and crosswalks to get there. Low crime to make it safe to do so. Public transit easily available to access places farther afield.
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Old 04-27-2014, 08:14 AM
 
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For me, walkable has to also mean accessible, so curbs have to have cutouts, sidewalks can't have trip hazards like broken pavement, sidewalks need to be wide to accommodate sufficient foot traffic without bumping into each other, and the terrain needs to be flat.

Cobblestone streets are a no-go for me. Hills and steps are a no-go as well. Crowded streets are a challenge - I've got to watch my feet as I walk so tend to bump into people more, which throws me off balance. My husband and I looking for a place to retire to where the neighborhoods are "walkable" for gentle exercise. Based on my requirements for what is walkable, it narrows the selection. But that's just my personal definition.
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Old 04-27-2014, 08:34 AM
 
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Whether Walking, or Running - Safety is Always the First Priority".

There are trails in the woods, trails in the mountains and trails in urban fields and sidewalks, as well as there are alley passage ways, there are people who walk where there is no trail or pathway. There are rural cities with no side walks, and there are trails along various roadways, the list can go on and on and on.
But no matter what or where the walking is done.
If Safety is not a First Consideration, then one may find themselves to wish it had been their first concern.

One can't expect any more in a manicured community than they can expect walking down crowded city streets or areas of blight, Because people walk in these places everyday. But considering and being aware to concern ones self with safety is probably the best scenario for one to embrace, regardless of where they walk.
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