A few days ago, I had a small miscommunication with my husband about the exact location of where to pick me up after a parade. By the time I made it to the road that led to my house (not a major road, but still a busy one), the traffic was back up to pre-parade speed. As I trudged through ankle-high grass and weeds with traffic whizzing by me on this narrow, sidewalk-less road, I began to think about the importance of neighborhood walkability.
My neighborhood is missing some very important elements, namely sidewalks and bicycle lanes. As these elements are gaining in importance across the country, “pedestrian-friendly” neighborhoods are seeing an influx of newcomers. Some communities are trying to increase or gain walkability. And, some cities are doing a better job than others.
Living in a pedestrian-friendly area is not only safer, it is better for your health. So, where are the best walker-friendly neighborhoods? The top-rated city for walking is San Francisco. I visited San Francisco once and it is a great place to stroll around – Fisherman’s Warf, great little shops, nice weather, and when you get tired? A cable car is as fun as it is convenient.
Other top cities include Boston, New York, Seattle, and Portland. Portland has 140 miles of trails that all connect, perfect for bike riders. In Georgia, Peachtree City is pedestrian (and golf cart) friendly. Salt Lake City was recently named the fittest city in the country by Men’s Fitness magazine. They found that 32 percent of residents in Salt Lake City jog regularly. Not surprisingly, Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco also made the list.
Colorado Springs came in as the second fittest city. Residents in Colorado Springs like to go hiking, skiing, snowboarding, and jogging. They have some amazing little towns, complete with ski resorts and historic downtown areas. Steamboat Springs, for example, has a great walkable downtown with galleries, shops, museums, and restaurants.
No matter where you choose to rent, keep in mind that the more walkable your neighborhood is, the healthier you will be. So be sure to find the community with plenty of sidewalks, street-front shops, and bike paths!