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  • Cathy O'Connor

OKC steps it up for walkability

One of the hallmarks of successful, beautiful cities is walkability. Walkability – the measure of how friendly an area is to walking – is an increasing consideration for where people choose to live.

In a recent survey by the Urban Land Institute, 50 percent of people said that walkability is either the top or a high priority in where they would choose to live – and that impacts an area’s economy. A Brookings Institution study found that the walkability of an area increases the per-square-foot value of commercial and residential spaces.

Besides a healthier lifestyle and environmental benefits, walkability cultivates community. There is a direct connection between walkability and socially vibrant neighborhoods. Driving a car separates people from the businesses, sidewalks, park benches, people and shops on either side of the road. For those who either cannot afford an automobile or are not able to drive a car, walkability means safety. Without sidewalks, clearly marked crossing areas and bike lanes, walking and biking can feel less safe.

Oklahoma City, once named the “worst U.S. walking city,” has taken steps to become more walkable. In the past few years, 2007 general obligation bond and MAPS 3 projects have added hundreds of miles of new sidewalks and several new multi-use trails. This year, the city marked bicycle lanes and downtown intersections with bright green paint to encourage drivers to watch for cyclists. More improvements are planned for bicycle infrastructure.

Read the full article at The Journal Record

Photo credit: OKC Gov

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