eMission control – Focus: Walkways

I have to wonder if walkways are all they’re cracked up to be.

Lonely are sidewalks in my neighborhood. Comparatively speaking, they don’t see much action.

Owing to this is that people walking can oftentimes be found strolling in the street. And even though sidewalks, which are in plain view and are made specifically for walking on, they are neglected. In fact, I just saw a woman walking a dog walk by. Quite interestingly, the dog had the presence of mind to walk on the sidewalk. As for the woman walking the pooch, well, she stayed in the street. Go figure.

Walkability index

I’m going to assume everyone reading this is familiar with the Air Quality Index. So, what is the walkability index?

CNN in its iReport has the poop. In “Walkability Index,” NuYwk relates: “Its (sic) a term used in real estate to describe how close a place is in walking terms to local stores and attractions like library’s (sic) and parks.”

I don’t think this helps if I’m trying to find out how well walked a location is. Nevertheless, walkability index could be helpful in the sense that if a place has a high walkability index, this might be highly indicative of a locale where heightened walking activity takes place.

In this regard, NuYwk wrote: “I plugged in my address and came up with a score of 42. I am close to my library, a community center and a small grocery store.”

Disclaimer: “Close” not being a concrete term, you will need to decide for yourself what “close” in this context means.

Sidewalks: ‘Yea’ or ‘nay’?

As long as I can remember the ubiquitous sidewalk has been part of the urban landscape. However, that the infrastructure is there for walking on is no guarantee people are going to use it. There being no sidewalk shortage, it goes without saying some see heavy use and others not so much.

On visits to far bigger cities than Fresno (population 500,000), what I have witnessed more than once offers hope and that is that there are masses of citizens using sidewalks, particularly in the downtown and central business districts (if the two are different). And the walking could be business, exercise or work related.

Which brings me to my next point, which is, when sidewalks see significant use, the people doing the walking aren’t on the road traveling in motor vehicles, those moving or idling, and this has implications in terms of air quality improvement.

The more that people walk and the more people that take advantage of walking platforms, whatever the form, the presumption is the more the air quality is helped.

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