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How to Get More People Walking in Cincinnati?

Today on the Streetsblog Network, member blog UrbanCincy notes with deserved pride that Cincinnati was ranked the seventh-safest large city for pedestrians in the nation in Transportation for America's "Dangerous by Design" study.

But they aren't resting on their laurels. In today's post, they call on the city to improve pedestrian infrastructure further with the goal of increasing the percentage of people walking to work:

CRW_7052.jpgWalking in Cincinnati: It's good, and should be better still.

According to U.S. Census data, only 2.3 percent of the Cincinnati-Middletown Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) commutes to work by foot...

So if safety isn't the issue in Cincinnati, then what is it? The region as a whole does not boast very dense development patterns outside of Cincinnati city limits and a few other pockets like Hamilton, Middletown, northern Kentucky's river cities, and Norwood. Furthermore, the areas that are appropriately designed lack any clear amenities for pedestrians like crosswalk counters, scramble crossings at high pedestrian volume intersections, or curb bump outs. Another major detractor is the lack of barriers between pedestrians and motorists like bollards, trees/landscaping, or on-street parking.

I would also contend that the physical condition of our pedestrian surfaces is also a major factor. Fully taking advantage of the Federal Government’s Safe Routes to School program is a critical piece of the puzzle, but so is the ongoing maintenance of our pedestrian surfaces. This may be tricky in the low-growth Midwest and northeast, but solutions like rubber sidewalks provide long-term maintenance savings in addition to the overall improvement in surface quality for pedestrians.

More from around the network: Extraordinary Observations writes about A&E's show "Parking Wars." Adam Voiland at DC Bicycle Transportation Examiner notes how the ink-stained wretches of journalism reveled in Washington's recent Tweed Ride. And Let's Go Ride a Bike has some very practical tips on how to dress for a comfortable winter bike commute (she does it in Chicago, people).