Community Walkability Checklist
Many communities are beginning to realize that sidewalks, bike paths and crosswalks are not just 'extras,' but essential investments in the health and safety of their residents. Making sure our neighborhoods provide opportunities for everyone to be safely active not only enriches quality of life but also improves health and increases longevity. In addition, steps taken to improve the environment for older adults are beneficial to others as well. Increased foot traffic can boost sales at local retail businesses, and there is evidence that property values increase in communities where residents are able to get around easily.
Does your community have an inventory of existing sidewalk locations and conditions?
Reviewing the existing sidewalk locations and conditions against high pedestrian traffic areas, are the sidewalks in the known high pedestrian areas complete?
Identify gaps in the sidewalk system in known high pedestrian areas:
To what extent are the sidewalks in known high pedestrian areas in good condition?
Identify existing condition problems in known high pedestrian areas:
Are there multiple known high pedestrian areas that could be linked with additions to the sidewalk system?
Are there places pedestrians would like to walk if there were sidewalks available?
To what extent do sidewalks have curb cuts at intersections?
Which intersections need curb cuts?
Are all new or improved sidewalks required to be ADA compliant?
Are residential facilities targeted for older adults required to have sidewalks?
Are residential facilities targeted to older adults required to be built in locations where walkability is easy?
During road and sidewalk repair, are physical accommodations and signs used to keep pedestrians safe?
To what extent are sidewalk obstructions that would interfere with walking or wheel chair use, such as signs, vending machines and trash receptacles, placed out of the path of pedestrians?
To what extent can major streets in known high pedestrian areas be crossed easily and safely by pedestrians of all ages and functional levels?
Which streets are cause for concern?
To what extent are traffic light times long enough for older adults to cross? (There may be some locations where this is especially critical, e.g., near senior living centers.)
Which lights need to be adjusted?
To what extent are there safety islands on extra wide street crossings?
Where would safety islands make sense?
To what extent are crosswalks marked?
What crosswalks in known high pedestrian areas are not marked?
Is the speed limit appropriate?
Identify streets where cars travel too fast:
To what extent is the speed limit enforced?
What steps would be needed to increase enforcement?
Are there mid-block crosswalks or pedestrian traffic signals on long streets with no intersections?
Identify any needed mid-block crosswalks or pedestrian traffic signals needed:
Are there "pedestrian routes" identified between major residential areas and typical destinations? (If not, create a map identifying known pedestrian routes.)
To what extent are benches provided at regular intervals along "pedestrian routes" to allow people to rest?
Where would it be helpful to add benches in the community?
Is there a community plan for planting trees for shade along pedestrian routes?
If not, who could take responsibility for creating a plan?
To what extent is there adequate lighting along the sidewalks for pedestrians to be and feel safe?
Where is lighting limited?
Snow is a reality in Ohio. Is it handled safely?
To what extent are sidewalks placed far enough back from roadways to allow space for snow storage?
Does the community require new and improved sidewalks be placed far enough back from roadways to allow space for snow storage?
Does the community have a sidewalk snow removal ordinance?
Is the sidewalk snow removal ordinance enforced?
To what extent are locations where indoor walking can take place - schools and colleges/universities, recreation centers, shopping malls - open for community walkers?
What locations are currently open or could be open?
To what extent have abandoned railroad beds and/or utility corridors in your community been converted to walking/bicycling trails?
Identify any potential trail routes that exist:
How many miles of shared use paths and/or multi-use recreational trails are available in your community? (This does not include sidewalks.)
Adapted from "Michigan Community for a Lifetime Walkability Assessment," created by the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging.