A Brookings Institution study is to be released today, on the topic of walkable cities. (I was unable to find the full report online, please post if you can find it.)
Young professionals … are driving a national trend toward more walkable communities, says the author of a report to be released Tuesday by the Brookings Institution.
I am very curious about the details of how he ranked the cities. It sounds like he just took every urban area with mixed use (housing plus jobs, retail or cultural institutions) and then counted every “walkable place” but how did he determine if it was walkable? He also “counted only places where significant subsidies are no longer required to spur development.” The importance of light rail is mentioned.
Leinberger attaches one major caveat to his report: The survey did not take into account the size of each walkable place.
That seems like a big omission. I think this is a good “first step” kind of study, but it would be great to see something more comprehensive. At any rate, this CNN article shows the top 30 cities, Columbus (metro area) is #19. (Cincy is #28 and Cleveland is #29.)
It doesn’t seem like pedestrian safety or width of sidewalk or ADA-compliance was taken into account. The latest “Mean Streets” study from STPP is from 2004. (STPP is a 501(c)(3) and stands for Surface Transportation Policy Project.) For the Mean Streets study STPP created a Pedestrian Danger Index that considered “the rate of pedestrian deaths, relative to the amount that people walk.” Columbus metro area was 6th worse for “greatest declines in pedestrian safety.” For large MSA’s Columbus was #41 (#1 Orlando is the worst), while Cincy was #46 and Cleveland was #48. Granted, the STPP data is from 2002-2003, but something to think about, since the Brookings study doesn’t seem to have considered pedestrian safety.
Bonus fact: STPP lists Columbus (metro area) as spending only $0.08 per person on pedestrian/bicycle facilities and safety. Yay! 8 whole cents!!
And more discussion of this can be found at the CU thread.
Sources: http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/12/04/walkable.communities.ap/index.html and http://www.transact.org/report.asp?id=235 and http://www.transact.org/library/reports_html/ms2004/pdf/state_fact_sheets_mt-us.pdf