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Walkability of Alabama Cities


Is your community walkable?  

10 members have voted

  1. 1. Is your community walkable?

    • Yes, I can walk & live without a car.
    • No, I can't function without a car here.
    • Sort of, I can walk but I need a car too.

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Civic design expert measures walkability in Mobile and Baldwin County cities

National civic design expert Dan Burden, who has conducted over 2,000 walkability audits for cities around the country, audited downtown Mobile, Daphne and Spanish Fort in January 2007. Burden was invited to the Mobile Bay area by the Baldwin County Trailblazers, a group working on a 32 mile "Eastern Shore Trail" that will connect parks and towns along the shore.

In Mobile, Burden praised Bienville Square, the historic architecture, and the renovations going on; but mentioned Water Street, the parking lots around Bienville Square, some pedestrian signals in a state of disrepair, and the lack of a master plan for the city as areas that need attention. He liked the idea of a mixed-use development on the vacant county courthouse property.

In Baldwin County, Burden found road lanes too wide, a lack of sidewalks in some areas, and schools that were sited improperly so that kids can't walk to them. Burden mentioned that residents have to engage ALDOT to work with them to make needed changes, and praised Fairhope as a good example of a walkable community.

Landscape Architecture: Dan Burden takes to the streets, showing people how to make their communities more walkable [Thanks to Chad Emerson for the link.]

Mobile Press-Register: Civic design expert measures downtown's walkability

List of walkable communities by region: http://www.walkable.org/article6.htm

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  • 11 months later...

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Gadsden ranked worst in the state and third worst in the country on a "walking city" evaluation done by Prevention Magazine and the American Podiatric Medical Association. Birmingham ranked as Alabama's most walkable city, but did not make the national top 100.

The study faulted Gadsden for a low ratio of parks and green space per square mile and a very small percentage of residents who walk for exercise. Gadsden also has one of the highest percentages of cars per household in the state.

Gadsden low on 'walking city' list

Alabama's 10 largest cities were evaluated for walkability, and the results can be found here: (Select Alabama as the state)

Thoughts about these evaluations of our cities?

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Decatur's scores definitely don't surprise me. Mass transit is horrible in town. There aren't really any "stops". And the parkspace, I think I have disagree with. There is a HUGE amount of park space, but, not within walking distance. Eastern Decatur, if it were evaluated separately, would probably be rated in the Top 5 in the state in walkability, but Western Decatur just makes it horrible.

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Well, for my home in Decatur, I got a HORRIBLE 8 out of 100, which actually went up two points (because of the new shopping center) from the last time I used this site.

For where I live at U of A, I got a 65 out of 100.

So, an average of 36.5 out of 100. I think that goes with what I voted, which was I can walk, but I still need a car. But, obviously, I need a car in Decatur.

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I got an 83 here in Montgomery's Old Cloverdale neighborhood. It really is walkable, with just about all basic needs within walking distance. A lot of the streets in the neighborhood lack sidewalks, though. A city bus route runs on the next street over, so I could actually do without a car if that became necessary.

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A grand total of 6 for my house in Northeast Huntsville. No surprise there; it's close to everything, but not close enough to walk to. We've got grocery stores, restaurants, banks, etc. within 2 miles, but without sidewalks here, it's kinda tough to get to them by walking. Hopefully the score will go up after Harris Hills is completed and a proposed greenway is built.

Tried a UAH address just for kicks, got a 49.

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Blossomwood in Huntsville. It's around a mile to downtown and slightly less to the center of 5 points. Unfortunately, 5 points is not easy to get to unless you cut through the Maple Hill Cemetary, which is "unlawful to enter" at night.

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Got a 22 out of 100, but distances are misleading crow-fly distances. I'm in SE Huntsville. Bailey Cove Library is actually closer than Southern Family by 1/3 the distance, but I have to wade through Aldridge Creek to get there. I've done that before when I was younger, but it would be no fun in the rain. Also cutting through one's yard as a 10 y/o is probably more excusable than a 30-something cutting through a yard... If I go on the few sidewalks here, it would be about the same to both locations.

Everything besides houses is at least 1/2 mile away. Between flood ditches and hills, and windy roads, parts of SE HSV are practically unwalkable for anything outside a car breakdown or just exercise. The city seems to think so, as they omitted sidewalks in many areas. (especially ones in the hills built before 1980)

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69. Yes, where I am located in Birmingham I could walk and live without a vehicle most of the time. However, until the BJCTA service improves and become a more reliable form of mass transit, I will keep using my car to get to and from places outside of the immediate City Center.

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76. a few of the nearby services / businesses used in factoring that score are defunct, though. it is walkable where i live, and a car is not necessary unless one's work is outside the area - but a car nonetheless offers de facto convenience as a means of getting you to and from more places where you can dispose of your income. echoing leonard, better transit service could obviate the link between cars and leisure pursuits (but then again, that's pretty much true in most car-dependent cities.)

this is the highland / rushton park area of bham, btw.

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