Characteristics of Walkable Communities


  • Intact town centers with mixed income and mixed use land use. 
  • Public space is valued allowing people to assemble and play in their neighborhoods. 
  • Key streets are speed controlled - trafifc moves at safe, pleasant and courteous speed on main streets and in neighborhoods.
  • Many of these streets are tree lined, have on-street parking, and use other affordable methods to keep traffic speeds under control.

  • Streets & trails are well linked. The town has a good block form, often in a grid or other highly connected pattern.
  • The town is designed for people. Decisions are made for people first, cars second. Does the town have a lot of open parking lots downtown? Are many streets plagued with multiple commercial driveways, limited on-street parking, fast turning radii on corners? Towns designed for people have many investments being made in plazas, parks, and walkways. Investments in intersections on the far reaches of town are rare.
  • Many people are walking. Often there are places that look walkable, but no one walks. Why? There is always a reason. Is it crime? Is there is no place to walk to, even though the streets and walkways are pleasant? Are the downtown stores not open convenient hours? Another clue, where people walk in great abundance virtually all motorists are courteous to pedestrians.
  • The town and the neighborhoods have a vision. Visionary master plans provide direction, build ownership of citizens, engage diverse people, and create opportunities for implementation. A well thought out master plan gets past sticky issues, and deals with the most basic, fundamental, necessary decisions and commitments. There are budgets set aside for neighborhoods, for sidewalks, trails, links, and parks.
  • Decision-makers are visionary, communicative, and forward-thinking. The town has a strong majority of leaders who "get it."  They are purposefully changing and building policies, practices, codes, and decisions to make their towns pleasant places for people. They know what Active Living by Design is all about. The regional government understands and supports the building of a town center, and is not attempting to take funds from the people at the center to induce or support sprawl.