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monsoon

Best Walking Cities in USA

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New York is #1 because so many people live and work in Manhattan. You also can pop on and off the subway with an all day pass and see alot of the city on foot. Boston is good because of its compactness and intersting streetscapes. Anyone who has seen my pictures knows I love to go for walks all over the city, it keeps me thin and I get to add a few pics to my portfolio.

Now if it was the best jay-walking city, Boston would be #1 hands down! ;)

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Personally, I think Boston is #1. It's compact size means you can almost literally walk the entire city, without hoping the train. NYC and SF are obviously, easily walkable. But I think it's a bit more a trek to do without having to hit mass transit. Just my personal opinion though.

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Walking boston without the subway depends on how much of the city you want to see. Longwood, brookline village, JFK museum, rever beach, even harvard square are pretty long walks of several miles from DT. I usually do a combo of walking and riding so I can cover more ground in an afternoon of taking pictures.

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Walking boston without the subway depends on how much of the city you want to see. Longwood, brookline village, JFK museum, rever beach, even harvard square are pretty long walks of several miles from DT. I usually do a combo of walking and riding so I can cover more ground in an afternoon of taking pictures.

Well, I don't really consider Harvard the city of Boston. For getting to Cambridge, I always hope the train.

I can, however, start in Boston Commons and walk to everything in the Back Bay, back to Quincy Market and the waterfront, Theatre District and all in a timely fashion without having to hop a train or cab.

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From my old apt on Park Drive at Beacon (just west of Fenway park) it was about 4 miles to the north end. In nice weather my girlfriend and I used to take the subway down, eat pizza, and walk back for some excercise (quite a bit actually) We often stopped at tower records (then one of the biggest in the US) at the corner of Newbury and Mass ave (now Virgin records, still huge). I often ride my bike from Brighton to Downtown. It takes about 90 minutes depending on traffic. I would never walk that far. Maverick square in east boston is amazingly dense and interesting. You have to take the train, boat or long roundabout car ride.

At any rate my point is many people and many guidebooks think boston is the area from Fanuel Hall to Mass ave, north of boylston st., and south of storrow drive. It is actually a lot more extensive than that and there are many cool places to see that are extremely long walks. The highrise district in longwood with incredible builidings both old and new is way outside that boundary. So is Kenmore square, BU, Northeastern, The museum of fine arts just to name a few places.

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Boston has always lost points with me because of the engineering of some key intersections. Some areas give too much priority to cars and can be dangerous to navigate on foot if you are not familiar with the area. The top of the Storrow Drive connector leaps to mind. The whole area of the Riverway near Longwood. Kenmore Square. Kneeland Street at the Southeast Expressway. Comm. Ave. at Harvard Ave. The city also has a terrible problem maintaining it's crossing signals (something Providence seems to like to emulate). The reason that Boston is the jaywalking capital is that there are so many intersections were it is safer to jaywalk. In New York jaywalking isn't as prevalent, not because the residents are more law-abiding, but because it is actually easiest in most cases to cross at the crosswalk, the grid of course helps a lot with this.

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My thoughts on jaywalking are the thinner the street the more common it is. In NY, I'd be more likely to jaywalk on Lexington than say Broadway.

Boston has many narrow streets and a lot of jaywalking. I 93 and storrow drive are probably the two worst things that ever happened to boston, at least for walkers.

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I'd add New Orleans to that list if one of the criteria weren't crime. There's a bar or grocery on every corner, and something interesting every block. And no, I'm not just talking about the French Quarter.

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I have a feeling that Seattle and Denver got the boost for their low crime rates on the other end of the stick... they really don't deserve the honors. New Orleans and Baltimore should both be on there, except for that damn crime problem.

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Whoa, i'm really didn't expect to see Denver or Cleveland the high on the list. How dense are their cores?

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At any rate my point is many people and many guidebooks think boston is the area from Fanuel Hall to Mass ave, north of boylston st., and south of storrow drive.  It is actually a lot more extensive than that and there are many cool places to see that are extremely long walks.  The highrise district in longwood with incredible builidings both old and new is way outside that boundary.  So is Kenmore square, BU, Northeastern, The museum of fine arts just to name a few places.

Very true.

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I think Denver was on the list because they have an exemplary public transit system that moves people around.

And believe it or not, their population density is quite high comparative to most metropolitan areas in the USA.

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Christopher Leinberger (NPR story here) speaks about planning for the future by planning for communities that are more 'walkable', supplemented by local transit, trains, trolleys, express buses and traditional route buses. He's talked about the future of suburbia as areas of declining value (suburban slums). Indeed, even before the real estate bubble bust, when gas hit $2.50/gal suburban areas began taking a hit in value. )I contend, in fact, that this helped to lead to the bust - but that's another topic.)

How are planners in area communities reacting to these new trends? Intense mixed use development has been going on in primary markets for over a decade and in secondary markets in the recent years. Not so much in tertiary markets and the real estate bust has pretty much stopped the trend's downstream momentum. Secondary and tertiary markets have had an opportunity with public housing redevelopment dollars in recent years to change the way they plan and develop intown areas. Particularly in small to mid-sized cities, developers are hesitant or simply not visionary enough to build true mixed-use. Local housing authorities could have used their redevelopment sites to introduce the concepts into these markets, but many have missed the opportunity to make a statement for walkable mixed-use by redeveloping intown public housing with suburban garden style apartment developments.

So how walkable is your address. Go to WalkScore and find out the walkability of any address. There, you can also read-up on walkable communities and even join an e-mail list for Congress letting them know to support legislation that helps communities become more walkable.

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NRN, a National Research Network for retail summarized recently suggesting to retailers and developers how to address demand for 'walkability'.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Accommodate this new walkable urban demand in all future plans. Site selection for new sales venues, including master planned communities, should include calculation of town walkability to ensure consumer appeal and satisfaction. Areas closest to public transportation should be favored over those that rely on the automobile for access. Retrofitting suburban sales venues to be mini- walkable urban oases should also be considered.

So the question is, will communities that have the infrastructure (transit, spatial walkability) in place fare better in attracting new retail development than those that don't?

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So the question is, will communities that have the infrastructure (transit, spatial walkability) in place fare better in attracting new retail development than those that don't?

Absolutely, this shouldn't even be a question of whether or not this will happen. Automobile is still king in America, but only when you're talking about cheap and easily obtained oil. Once oil prices are held at a higher price point (permanently either by supply issues or by artificial pricing) retailers and consumers will see the obvious benefits of being located near mass transit infrastructure. Locations that have this in place will obviously have a leg up on areas that don't.

Why bother spending money to build the infrastructure if it has already been built (but not completely developed) in other areas near population centers?

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