Spring is in the air, and unmet New Year’s resolutions are nagging in the back of many of our minds. What better time to walk more? We’re not just talking about walking for the sake of exercise. No, we mean actually walking to get somewhere. It’s antiquated. It’s charming. Thankfully, it’s also the new black.
Many cities are battling sprawl with new urban design that promotes walking and they’re receiving media coverage for their efforts. The New York Times recently recognized Denver for its progress in making walking a viable option, not just for exercise, but for transportation. Additionally, in 2010, the Huffington Post selected its picks for the most walkable cities in the world.
Newspapers aren’t the only ones in the business of rating pedestrian-friendly areas and keeping score of who is doing it best. This (albeit dated) 2000 census charts which cities are commuting by foot (or bike and public transport), and walkscore.com rates areas, using a score from zero to 100, to define not only cities, but which neighborhoods are the most pedestrian friendly. It seems folks are paying attention as some cities, such as San Francisco, are listing these type of neighborhood walk scores in real estate listings.
And they should–pay attention that is. Data shows that Americans are actual slaves to their cars. Grist, an independent news publication focused on environmental issues, reports that two hours of an American’s workday goes to paying for their car. For those who are ready to get out of their car, but can’t stomach the slow pace of walking, biking is the other obvious option and only 3.84 minutes of an American’s workday goes toward paying for a bicycle.
The benefits of walking and biking are obvious to both your health and the environment. If you’re already going places by foot or pedal, Mountainfilm in Telluride salutes you. If you’re not, we hope to motivate you to get outside to enjoy the pleasant cadence of your own footsteps or the hip perspective from the seat of a bicycle.
Photo credit: Matthew Staver for the New York Times