BY ALICIA PARINELLO, AICP
PLANNER, FORWARD PINELLAS
For communities looking to become safer and more accessible to all modes of travel, a walkability audit can be part of the answer.
Recently, the City of Safety Harbor and Forward Pinellas conducted a walkability audit. Prior to the audit, Forward Pinellas staff reviewed the concept of 20-minute neighborhoods – neighborhoods where residents can meet all their needs within a short distance – and encouraged participants to make note of assets and obstacles along the routes. Two teams, made up of residents and city staff, set out on northern and southern routes that converged at the downtown city hall. Both teams used a walkability audit survey tool to help record their observations along the way.
Four themes became clear from the observations: streets, intersections, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance, and user comfort. Walking auditors took note of good sidewalk coverage, walking surfaces limited by vegetation, need for consistent landscaping, large turning radius on most driveways, and Main Street feeling more comfortable for walking. Participants also took photos to capture their observations.
Based on the audit and small-group exercises, Forward Pinellas developed recommendations and sorted them into short, mid, and long-term categories. These recommendations were then compiled into a final report. If your community is interested in having a walkability study conducted by Forward Pinellas, contact us at (727) 464-8250 or visit our webpage, forwardpinellas.org.