Baltimore’s Bikeability Improves (Yay!), But Walkability Declines (Boo!)

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Photo via baltimoreredline.com
Photo via baltimoreredline.com

We’ve covered a lot of the excellent improvements Baltimore is making to become a more bike-friendly city. While those improvements in infrastructure and policy have seen us rise in the “bike-friendly” rankings, Baltimore has also been sinking in the “pedestrian-friendly” rankings.

The Baltimore Sun reports that a study ranks Baltimore as the 11th out of 30 cities for “walkable urbanism.” That’s not bad! By the study’s metrics, we have attained “moderate walkable urbanism,” in which 19 percent of the city’s retail and office space is easily reachable by foot. Other former industrial cities like Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Cleveland also fit into this category.

But when the study looks at each city’s future potential for walkability, Baltimore sinks to 23rd place. That’s because our potential for suburban, car-centric sprawl makes it less likely that important urban spaces will be  walkable.

The lack of walkable environments in urban areas has many contributing factors — lack of investment in public transit, car-centric suburbs, and a lack of attention paid to city centers. The study notes that substantial housing developments in downtown and downtown-adjacent areas might help Baltimore improve its walkable urbanism. Now let’s just get working on that school system…



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