"Of 500 American urban places, Oklahoma City ranks last in "walkability." Not only is walking not encouraged, it's actually discouraged with public policy, an urban design consultant says.
City officials are concerned with the "walkability" ranking, enough so that they hired Jeff Speck to make recommendations. Speck's report, issued May 15, puts some cracks in the sidewalk of conventional wisdom.
Mass transit, rather than discourage walking by providing an alternative, increases pedestrian traffic. Riders like walking to and from transit stops. If driving to a stop is required, many will avoid mass transit altogether. Large-scale transit, Speck says, isn't possible in a "nonwalking" city.
It won't happen, says Speck, "without strong political leadership and the understanding that certain entrenched practices must be turned on their head if Oklahoma City is to become a more walkable place.""