LET’S WALK DUNCANVILLE
Walkability audits are a great tool in creating communities where residents can participate in making their vision of healthy, safe, walkable streets real. In a walk audit, community members go for a walk together, noting what makes their streets feel comfortable for walking and what’s missing. Walkability audits can be informal and casual or can include city staff, traffic engineers, and detailed forms.
Why Do We Want Walkable Communities?
When our streets are walkable, our communities benefit in all kinds of ways. Kids can safely walk to school, reducing traffic congestion, and arriving at school ready to focus and learn. Walkable streets let people without cars safely get to work or to the corner store. Walkable streets let neighbors meet each other, and provide a pleasant place for physical activity, walking a dog, or jogging. In addition, when people live in walkable communities, they are healthier and more likely to be a healthy weight. Giving people the option to walk instead of drive can improve the safety of streets and reduce air pollution and asthma rates.
What Is A Walkability Audit?
A walkability audit can be as simple as taking a walk during which you assess how supportive the street is for walking. Walkability audits can be done solo but are often conducted by a group of people using a checklist to assess street infrastructure and conditions, documenting barriers, positive features, activities, and perceptions of the walking environment. Walkability audits let you survey a planned route, evaluating and documenting the street on a scale that helps to assess the current walkability and identify how to make it better for people of all ages and abilities. A walkability audit can occur as part of a bigger plan to assess overall walkability or can be a one-time event to understand or express concerns about a specific area.
Why Do a Walk Audit?
Conducting a walkability audit can be the start to making positive change in your community, leading to a safer, more accessible, more comfortable walking environment for everyone. A walkability audit can occur for different reasons. Walk audits can be used to:
- Document how walkable a route is.
- Identify walking barriers and benefits in a community.
- Bring community members of all walks together to discuss problems and brainstorm solutions.
- Quantify disparities, assessing whether different neighborhoods have walking environments that differ in quality.
- Determine problems that can be easily fixed.
- Identify needed improvements to be included in funding asks, plans, and projects.
- Engage elected and appointed officials around a problem and request change.
- Capture conditions before and after a street renovation to assess the effects of improvements.
Steps for Conducting a Walkability Audit:
- Get Ready: Where’s the Route and How to Rate it
You will need to make initial decisions about your walkability audit, such as your goals, what tool to use, what route to select, and scheduling your walk audit.
- Get Set: Who Will Help and What You Need
You will need to figure out who to invite to the walk audit and what supplies you will need.
- Get Walking: What to Do and What to Look for
You will need to explain what is going to be done on the day of the walkability audit itself.
- Get Active: Share Observations and Make Change
You will need to collect data after your walking audit to compile your observations and make changes on your streets.
Please send walkability audit results to the Planning Division at email@example.com by October 31, 2020. Call 972-707-3878 if you have questions.
Learn more about the Duncanville Planning Division.