Who You Callin' Walkable?

<p>Seattle was recently named as one of the most walkable cities in the country, but one local disagrees.</p>
January 7, 2008, 9am PST | Nate Berg
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"The Brookings Institution has just decided that Seattle is the sixth-most-walkable large metropolitan area in the U.S. Brookings was documenting a new urbanism, the creation and nascent popularity of neighborhoods in which one doesn't need a car to buy groceries or get to work."

"Brookings looked not only at downtown cores but also at outlying urban areas (in Seattle, they included Belltown and Pioneer Square) and surrounding communities (Redmond and Kirkland). Its criteria included density, compactness, and the prevalence of mixed residential and other uses. All of its leading cities except Seattle had rail transit systems, although not all had old heavy rail: Portland ranked fifth on the Brookings list, and Washington, D.C., ranked first. (The rankings were based on a ratio of walkable areas to population, so that although New York had the most walkable areas, its high population kept it down in 10th place. Largely on the strength of surrounding communities that actually had sidewalks, L.A. ranked 12th.)"

"I'm skeptical. If Seattle is a top-10 city, walking in this country has fallen on hard times. There's a difference between a city in which one can get someplace by walking and a city in which one can get someplace fairly efficiently."

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Published on Thursday, January 3, 2008 in Crosscut
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