Wednesday, November 6, 2013

TOP TEN! Baltimore Cracks Walkscore.com's Ten Most Walkable Cities

Congratulations, Baltimore!  You are the tenth most walkable city in the United States according to Walkscore.com.  In an era when more and more people are discovering the joys of living without the need for a car, or at least with the ability to leave the car behind for days at a stretch, this is BIG!  Fells Point, pictured above, is one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Baltimore.
Nice wide sidewalks, well-marked crosswalks, ADA-accessible ramps, and good pedestrian lighting are all necessary for a good pedestrian environment.  These students are walking home from school in Federal Hill, also one of Baltimore's most walkable neighborhoods.
Another walkable community must: destinations!  This guy has a couple of Whole Foods bags in his hands as he heads toward home in Little Italy.  I know that he walked because the Whole Foods is just one block south of Little Italy - no one would ever drive that distance in this part of town.
A lively street scene, such as the one pictured here in Hampden, also contributes to walkability.
Transit helps, too.  The Charm City Circulator has exceeded expectations for ridership and has plans to expand early next year.
The Charm City Circulator's Harbor Connector helps commuters avoid driving between Locust Point, Fells Point and Canton.  It's easy and free.  I took this picture from the stop at Tide Point (home of Under Armour), looking across the water toward Canton.  It's not all just about work, of course - people use this service to travel to other parts of town for dinner, movies, and even ice cream.
Hampden does a nice job of giving people interesting things to look at along their route.
Good bicycle infrastructure is also key.
Baltimore's Light Rail has generated significant debate over the years, which I am not getting into because I am not a transportation planner.  However, I include this picture simply to show people using another type of transit.  Baltimore has the Charm City Circulator, water taxis, MTA buses, the metro, the light rail, MARC train service to DC (which is expanding its service!), and Amtrak, all of which make it easier for pedestrians to get around.  It's far from perfect, but working toward a better system (including the planned East West Red Line) makes a lot of sense as a way to make Baltimore even more marvelous and transit- and pedestrian-friendly!
One last note: new development that complements and fits into Baltimore's existing built environment, such as this project in Mount Vernon which included new construction and renovation, only enhances our city's walkability.  Let's aim for better than #10 next year!

5 comments:

  1. As long as you don't try and walk drunkenly on cobblestones. #FellsPoint

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  2. it has been a great place for me. I have seen many changes.

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  3. I am happy to hear that! I enjoy seeing the changes, too!

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