How to Spot a Walkable Neighborhood for Safety
Do you live in a walkable neighborhood? More importantly, is it safe to walk in your neighborhood? Having the freedom to walk from place to place during the day and in the evening without worry is quite the freedom, and it’s a luxury many parts of the United States simply don’t have.
One of the most important factors when deciding on a new home is often walkability. In this guide, we’ll help you spot a walkable neighborhood for safety by showing you just what to look for. It’s easier than you think to find your dream walkable neighborhood.
What Is Walkability Anyway?
Before we explain how to spot a walkable neighborhood, let’s talk about what walkability even is. Basically, walkability is referring to how friendly a place is to walk.
A walkable neighborhood or city is an area that is safe and comfortable to navigate by foot. Walkable neighborhoods aren’t just for walking. They also generally have public transit and bike paths so there are a lot of ways to get around.
In particular, walkability refers to a number of the following factors:
- Seating or resting spots
- Ample lighting, especially at night
- Nearby things to do, eat, and drink
- Low vehicle speeds
- Lack of neighborhood crime
The Walkability Checklist
Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to spot walkability in your own neighborhood. The best method is to use the Walkability Checklist created by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC). This checklist will help you identify the right questions to ask to ensure your prospective neighborhood is, in fact, walkable.
The checklist will ask you to consider the following things:
- Walking room – Did you actually have enough room to walk? Some possible problems are blocked pathways, too much traffic, or broken sidewalks.
- Street crossings – How easy is it to cross streets? Are there crosswalks and is it easy to see the oncoming traffic?
- Traffic – How is the local traffic? Is it an acceptable speed to feel safe walking nearby?
- Children – How safe is this area for children? Could children be seen in crosswalks, etc.?
- Pleasant – Finally, was the walk enjoyable? Did you feel safe the entire time, or did you encounter anything that made you second-guess your walk?
Are There Places to Walk?
Another important component of walkability is whether there’s anything to walk to. What’s the point of walking if there’s nowhere to go? It’s more likely to have a number of places to walk to if you choose a neighborhood in an urban or semi-urban area compared to the suburbs.
Most prospective homebuyers like being able to walk places for convenience. Especially in an urban setting, driving in traffic and finding parking can be a chore. Being able to walk safely and easily to nearby restaurants, bars, shopping, and more is a serious luxury.
Why Have Multiple Transportation Options?
A lot of prospective buyers might wonder why it matters to have multiple transportation options. Having only one way to get from Point A to Point B is really an inconvenience. A lot of homebuyers no longer want to drive everywhere, especially as the cost of owning a car is on the rise.
Instead, people are looking for increased options when it comes to transportation. Multiple forms of transportation is a sure sign of a safe and walkable neighborhood. Having a metro system, busses, sidewalks, and bike paths are all key components of walkability. Plus they help defeat traffic!
Is Your Neighborhood Safe and Walkable?
Now it’s time to ask yourself the big question. Is your neighborhood safe and walkable? If it’s walkable but you don’t feel safe most of the time or at night, it might not really be walkable at all. On the other hand, if you need to drive everywhere, your neighborhood still has a ways to go.
Living in one of the most walkable cities is a dream for many. The next time you search for a home, make sure you know how to spot a walkable neighborhood for safety. You’ll be glad you did.