How communities can support walkability and be recognized for it

Kaid Benfield, Director, Sustainable Communities, Washington, DC

I recently came across two fantastic resources for making communities more walkable.  One is a program, the other a compendium of highly useful educational and technical information.  They come from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center and the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, respectively.

First, the program:  last week the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center announced that nine additional cities and towns, including my own Washington, DC, had qualified for recognition as “Walk Friendly Communities.” The PBIC is an organization administered by the University of North Carolina and supported by the federal Department of Transportation.  The Walk Friendly Communities program is also supported by the FedEx Corporation.

This is, in my humble opinion, a really good program.  I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical at first, concerned that cities and towns were being recognized in spite of not really being among the country’s most walkable, something pointed out to me by commenters when I reported on the first batch of recognized cities and towns last year.  The complaints got a little louder when the article was republished on a different site with a headline that suggested the recognized communities were, in fact, the country’s most walkable.