Thursday, May 5, 2011

How walkable is your community and neighborhood?  is a fun way to measure the walkability of any address, town, city or ZIP code.  Each address's Walk Score is based on walking distances to nearby amenities. It also considers road connectivity, intersection density and average block length. Areas with scores of 70 or more are considered very walkable; score between 50 and 69 are considered somewhat walkable; and those with scores of 50 or less are considered car-dependent.

The 65 largest cities in North Carolina have an average Walk Score of 38. The most walkable cities in North Carolina are Boone, with an average score of 75, and Chapel Hill, with an average score of 53. Clemmons with an average score of 23 and Lewisville with a score of 20 were ranked as the second and third least walkable cities in North Carolina. Kernersville had an average score of 37 and Winston-Salem had an average score of 35. Based on Walk Score, 23% of Winston-Salem residents live in neighborhoods classified as at least somewhat walkable, while 77% live in car-dependent neighborhoods. Winston-Salem's most walkable ZIP codes are 27103 and 27109. Winston-Salem's least walkable ZIP codes are 27106 and 27104.

However, local road planning has seen improvements. A “connectivity index” is now used for rating new subdivision developments to ensure shorter travel distances and more route options. A Collector Street Plan was developed to ensure the logical overall connections between neighborhoods and communities as development comes in for approval. To help slow traffic down in neighborhoods, the City of Winston-Salem has put a traffic calming program in place. Examples of traffic calming projects include Lockland Avenue and London Lane.

There is an increased awareness of the importance of other transportation choices such as walking and biking, as well as the relationship of transportation alternatives to a healthy community. New street standards were adopted in Winston-Salem requiring sidewalks in new developments, and all sidewalks in Winston-Salem were mapped using a Global Positioning System. The City began striping bike lanes in 2007 and now has 7.2 miles of lanes marked.  A large section of the Muddy Creek Greenway was constructed. Major long range plans were completed for greenways, pedestrian facilities and bicycle facilities. Development design has been another area of success. Several new pedestrian-oriented commercial developments have been approved and built in Forsyth County.

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