Walking is one of the most popular ways to get around Arizona. Walking has benefits for both the pedestrian and the environment. A city’s walkability refers to how safe and easy it is to walk or jog within.
According to WalkScore.com, Glendale has a walkability score of 40/100. This means it is a car-dependent city that is not very pedestrian friendly. Many different factors contribute to a city’s walkability. Gauge your neighborhood’s walkability with a simple checklist.
Room to Walk on Sidewalks
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a printable walkability checklist that makes it easy to measure your community’s walkability score. The first item on the checklist is how much room you have to walk on sidewalks and pedestrian paths.
Take a stroll alone or with your child. Determine how much room you have while walking. Issues such as cracked or dangerous sidewalks, sidewalks that abruptly end, too much traffic or no sidewalk available could decrease your area’s walkability score.
Keep an eye out for safe places to cross the street while you walk. Most streets should be easy to cross, with either marked intersections or designated crosswalks to facilitate safe crossing. Make note of issues such as too few crosswalks/intersections, lack of crosswalk signs, faded roadway paint, dangerous crosswalks or malfunctioning traffic signals.
Distracted, negligent or reckless drivers could easily cause pedestrian accidents, injuries and deaths in Glendale. While walking around your neighborhood, pay attention to how safely people drive. Speeding, red-light running, rolling through stop signs, failing to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks, ignoring pedestrian rights-of-way and exiting driveways without looking for pedestrians are all examples of dangerous driving practices.
Ideally, the roads and sidewalks near you should make it easy to obey Arizona’s pedestrian laws. There should be plenty of crosswalks, clear visibility, ample signage, safe sidewalks and wide roadway shoulders. If your street has problems that force you to break the rules – such as crossing without a crosswalk – it will negatively impact the area’s walkability score.
Enjoyable Pedestrian Experience
Finally, you should be able to enjoy your stroll around the neighborhood. Sidewalks and pedestrian paths will ideally have trees, flowers and ample lighting for pleasant walks. Scary or loud dogs, rude people, litter, debris, poor lighting and excessive automobile exhaust are all issues that could make it less enjoyable to walk around the community. Although an enjoyable walk is not as important as a safe one, both are factors you should take into account when determining walkability.
Solutions to Low Walkability Score in Arizona
If your neighborhood contains a lot of walkability issues, consider both short- and long-term solutions. In the short term, you and your family can choose more walkable routes, trim back vegetation that may block visibility, post signs to encourage drivers to slow down, report unsafe drivers to the police and walk with small children to their destinations. Then, work with your community to enact broader changes for the long term.
- Discussing how to improve walkability at community meetings
- Submitting your checklist to the public works department
- Pushing for better crosswalks and signals at city meetings
- Reporting illegally parked vehicles to the police
- Keeping dogs leashed or locked in homes during the day to prevent dog bite incidents
- Petitioning for better traffic enforcement in your neighborhood
- Asking city planners for pedestrian safety solutions
- Organizing a neighborhood watch program
- Plant trees and vegetation along pedestrian routes
- Host pedestrian safety seminars in your community
There are many ways to increase your neighborhood’s walkability score over time. Change starts with just one person speaking up about pedestrian hazards in Glendale. Fill out the NHTSA’s checklist and show it to traffic administrators in your district. Explain how a more walkable city could decrease the risk of deaths, improve tourism and boost the city’s economy. Safer streets can benefit everyone.