The sidewalk has the power to both transform health and relationships!
Recently, Seattle was the only city in Washington State to receive a walk-friendly award. The Emerald City’s efforts toward sustainability -which inevitably implicates walkability – received a Platinum award from the start-up organization Walk Friendly Communities. And, when it comes to reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, it matters less who’s doing the walking, since the walking’s doing the talking!
Posted by Megan RisleyMay 10, 2011
And it all starts with the sidewalk. A WSDOT study, one of the first of its kind, began to take data relating miles of sidewalk versus pounds of CO2 emitted. Several jurisdictions in King County have begun evaluating their neighborhoods, the first step in developing ways to measure pedestrian traffic and its effectiveness in combating greenhouse gas emissions and reducing miles traveled by motorized vehicle. The study measures the effectiveness of sidewalks already constructed. The data, which has already shown negative correlations between greenhouse gas pollution and miles of sidewalk, will hopefully be used to encourage the laying of more sidewalk miles. While the jury is still out on a formal verdict, the goal of the study is to collect data to help inform budgeting for complete streets, and not simply vehicular transportation infrastructure.
More sidewalk is looking like it means less pollution. More sidewalk also means more community, too. Just as the availability of sidewalks is proportional to its use, the usage of sidewalks is proportional to the developing of neighborly relationships. If there isn’t a safe way to walk a dog or child through the neighborhood, less people we be out doing so. The less people out, the less opportunity for friendly, get-to-know-you conversation. And less opportunity to support local businesses. So, it’s not just for the planet that we put feet first – it’s for people, too!