We are excited to see the high level of understanding in the Surgeon General’s Step It Up call to action last week, to promote walking and walkable communities. The Surgeon General noted, “Improving walkability means that communities are created or enhanced to make it safe and easy to walk and that pedestrian activity is encouraged for all people. The purpose of the Call to Action is to increase walking across the United States by calling for improved access to safe and convenient places to walk and wheelchair roll and by creating a culture that supports these activities for people of all ages and abilities.”
The Surgeon General points out that design and land use are critical components to increasing walkability, but leaves it up to all of us to define what walkability means at home. Working in the delightfully walkable neighborhoods in and around Portland this week, we are reminded of three key elements that create a walkable neighborhood: it has to be entertaining, feel safe, and provide meaningful destinations.