The term walkable community refers to an area with streets, sidewalks, and paths that enable and encourage walking. These communities are planned in a way that protects travelers as they move around the neighborhood, whether they are on foot, bicycle, or using an adaptive device.
According to Jaime Fearer, deputy director of California Walks, a walkable community is one that allows people to walk wherever they need to go, including work, school, shopping and to the doctor’s office. The ideal walkable community is designed for people of all ages and physical abilities and includes easy access to transit.
“It all begins and ends with walking,” Fearer said.
The real estate site Redfin recently launched a study aimed at finding the most walkable communities in the Bay Area. Using calculations based on Walk Score data, they found Berkeley to be the big winner with a Walk Score of 96 (out of a possible 100). While no South Bay communities made Redfin’s Top 10 list, Nancy McPherson, state director of AARP California, says that her organization set up a new team in San Jose a year ago whose goal it is to help create more walkable communities. In addition, California Walks has recently launched the Walk San Jose program with support from the Knight Foundation. The goal of that program is to establish an independent, staffed walk advocacy organization in the city.
Why are walkable communities important? An AARP report indicates that people who live in neighborhoods with sidewalks are 47 percent more likely than people living in neighborhoods without sidewalks to be active at least 39 minutes a day. That physical activity not only provides significant health benefits but can also boost a person’s mood and give them an opportunity to interact with others.
An AARP report indicates that people who live in neighborhoods with sidewalks are more likely to be active at least 39 minutes a day than those who live in areas without them. Physical activity benefits both health and mood.
When asked what people want in a walkable community, Fearer pointed to a recent blog on the real estate-related website Curbed. “Different generations are looking for many of the same things when it comes to walkable communities: access to our daily and weekly destinations, access to parks and other public gathering spaces, and access to public transit.”
As McPherson looked for a new home, she knew that she wanted it to be in …read more
Source:: East Bay – Lifestyle