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Many Americans consider their neighborhoods “unwalkable”

Too many barriers

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A new survey reveals that despite most people wanting to walk more, forty percent of Americans do not believe it is possible in their neighborhood, according to The Atlantic Cities:

Seventy-nine percent of Americans believe they should walk more, but forty percent say they do not do so because their neighborhoods do not have nearby services, shops, schools and work, according to a national survey released this week.

The lack of nearby walkable destinations ranks as the second most often cited reason for not walking. The survey found that the biggest neighborhood barriers to walking include a lack of sidewalks, drivers who speed, and drivers who talk on their phones or text. Crime ranks eighth overall out of 15 items as a neighborhood barrier to walking, but it ranks 5th among both African Americans and Hispanic respondents compared to 12th among white respondents.

The survey of 1,224 Americans nationwide was commissioned by Kaiser Permanente and conducted by GfK Custom Research. Assisting in the design of the questionnaire and analysis of the data were Professors Peter Tuckel and William Milczarski of Hunter College, City University of New York. All interviewing took place August 5 to August 13.

While six in 10 Americans describe their neighborhood as “walkable,” individuals who live in more walkable neighborhoods (“with places where it is convenient to walk to services, shopping, schools and jobs”) do, in fact, walk more. Four in 10 describe their neighborhood as “not very’” or “not at all walkable.” A majority of Americans do not choose their neighborhood based on its perceived walkability, however.

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