Is your neighborhood walkable? How to conduct a walkability audit

How do you move through your neighborhood? Do you feel comfortable walking, or is driving the only safe mode? Use these tips and resources to do your own walkability audit:

  1. Choose your location. For your first audit, start small with one intersection or your regular walking route. Draw a map of your audit area or print out a Google map.
  2. Gather your supplies. You’ll need writing utensils, your map and some paper, a clipboard, and a camera or smartphone.
  3. Think about walkability. Make a checklist (or print out this one by AARP) of what makes an area comfortable and pleasant for pedestrians. Keep those elements in mind as you set out on your audit.
  4. Audit! Walk through your chosen area, staying alert for car traffic while observing sidewalk conditions, crosswalks, and other factors that affect pedestrians. Mark your checklist, take notes, and snap pictures of positive and negative conditions.
  5. Regroup and review. Back at home, go through your checklist and score the area. Talk about what you observed with your fellow auditors. Did you get the same impressions of walking conditions? Did ability, age, or gender affect your perception of safety and ease of movement?
  6. Take action. Present your findings at your next neighborhood meeting. Request improvements from your city’s Public Works or Transportation department. Volunteer to help neighbors with overgrown bushes with yard work. Borrow our equipment and implement a traffic calming demonstration. Report cars parked across ADA ramps or in bike lanes to the police department’s parking enforcement, and broken sidewalks and illegal dumping to your city’s 311 hotline. Use the OurStreets data collection app to track temporary street hazards to help with long-term planning projects.

A walkable community connects neighbors, improves public health, and increases economic activity. Good sidewalks and safe intersections provide access to services and jobs (low income workers are four times more likely to walk for transportation than wealthier workers) and make independent living easier for youth, elderly people, and people with disabilities. Conducting an audit can help you gauge the walkability of your community, and the data you record can help make your case for improving places for people where you live.

You can make change in your neighborhood! This is a great activity to engage the whole family and teach kids about community advocacy and active transportation, and we would love to see your results. Tag us in your social media posts (@bikewalkkc on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) and email us about your experience at info@bikewalkkc.org. If your walkability audit has inspired you to take the next step, check out our CompleteKC DIY Guide for more ideas.

 

Thank you for your support. Similar to many non-profits and small businesses, BikeWalkKC’s financial sustainability has been threatened by the COVID-19 outbreak. If you are able to, please consider making a donation or purchasing a membership for yourself, your household, or your organization. Any amount helps, and we appreciate your support at this difficult time.

 

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