This city with a walkable core took an enlightened approach in the aftermath of the earthquake of '89, tearing down the Embarcadero Freeway and replacing it with a six-lane Parisian boulevard. Shoreline reclamation on the city's airport site and gems like the Presidio make this a big city that welcomes walkers. Lesson for other communities: Leave future generations an example of your foresight: In places where you hope people will gather, put pedestrians before traffic.
Mt. Lebanon, Penn.
A suburb of Pittsburgh, this community of 34,000 has a comprehensive network of sidewalks, great destinations in walking distance, and a municipal tree farm to help keep the ample open spaces green. In the words of nominator Jane Elizabeth, "It's a town where dedicated residents are determined to keep its population moving?on foot." Lesson for other communities: Set the tone by expecting children to walk to school. In Mt. Lebanon, there are no school buses, and children are encouraged (in some yards with steps and handrails) to cut through private property on their walks to school.
With 72 miles of trails, this city is on its way to its goal of a trail within a mile of every home. Citizens voted for a $1.7-million bond issue for trail development. A traditional downtown, 6,000 acres of parks, and successful Walk a Child to School events (last year Governor Mike Johans took part) keep walking at the forefront. Lesson for other communities: Set up a bicycle/pedestrian advisory committee with regular access to city officials.
A pathway plan initiated by residents in 1978 has paid off in more than 23 miles of paved trails connecting housing, schools, parks, business districts, and the library. Plans are in place to connect a 4,000-acre park and two schools to the trail system. Orion's Paint Creek Rail-Trail is has been named a National Millennium Trail. Lesson for other communities: Make it law: In 1987, Orion passed a city ordinance that required developers to construct pathways as part of any new project.
Here's a small town with a bike path and fitness trail, few school buses, and a tree-planting program worthy of the town's name. Lesson for other communities: Launch an enlightened sidewalk program with regularly scheduled inspections and citizens obliged to cover the cost of repairs (with town loans).
Home of the famed Chautauqua Institution for arts and education, Chautauqua's walking culture harkens back to the 19th century. Lesson for other communities: If you really want everyone out and about on foot, ban automobiles all summer (other than for unloading baggage or groceries) on residential streets.