May 30, 2008
Today is the Green Street Initiative's monthly Walk/Ride Day. ACE believes that walkable streets are essential for promoting clean, green, and healthy communities.
Making sidewalks, streets, and crosswalks safe and accessible for pedestrians has important benefits for our communities. Improved pedestrian access to local businesses helps neighborhood economies. Encouraging residents to walk instead of drive saves gas, keeping air quality and the environment cleaner. Walkability promotes regular exercise, great for health and encouraging neighbors to interact with each other.
Last year, the Brookings Institute rated the Boston area as second in the nation in terms of walkability. A report released yesterday ranked Boston at number three. While these are nice rankings, more important is that all of Boston's communities can benefit from healthy, walkable communities.
Many environmental justice neighborhoods are congested and lack clear pedestrian zones which discourage people from walking. The area around the Forest Hills station will soon undergo renovations to help improve walkability. As development is planned around Dudley Square, it is important that designers keep people in mind to promote not just a walkable community, but a liveable one.