Photo by PoPville flickr user pablo.raw
The District of Columbia has been designated as a Gold Walk Friendly Community (WFC) by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. The Gold designation puts the District in select company with the most pedestrian friendly cities in the nation.
“We have an extra bounce in our step today as we celebrate our Gold status,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “It validates the work we have already done to promote walking and other clean modes of transportation, and it shows we’re on the right path to creating a more Sustainable DC.”
One of the goals of the Mayor’s Sustainable DC Vision Plan is for at least 75% of all trips originating in the city to be by walking, biking, transit or other clean transportation alternative by the year 2032.
In recognizing the District as a Walk Friendly Community, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) said “the walking and transit mode share are extraordinary and some of the best in the nation.”
The PBIC also praised the District’s Pedestrian Master Plan, sidewalk design standards and Public Realm Design Manual; said the city’s traffic signals “show a high level of sophistication and awareness for all road users”; recognized DDOT for having a full-time pedestrian coordinator and for its commitment to public input; and singled out the Great Streets Initiative, Livability Studies, and the 11th Street Bridge project as model programs and projects. In addition, DDOT was applauded for providing training on pedestrian issues to planning and design staff and even police officers and transit operators. Recognition was also given to MPD for its pedestrian safety enforcement efforts, in particular those conducted in conjunction with the regional Street Smart safety awareness campaign.
“The combined efforts of our pedestrian and bicycle programs are paying off,” said DDOT Director Terry Bellamy. “We’ve seen a remarkable drop in the number of fatal crashes involving pedestrians over the past 2 years, and we will continue to make improvements so that our streets are even safer for walkers and all users.”
The District is one of nine communities recognized today, and the only one designated as a Gold-level Walk Friendly Community. The Walk Friendly Community designation, awarded from bronze to platinum, is given to applicant communities that have demonstrated a commitment to improving and sustaining walkability and pedestrian safety through comprehensive programs, plans and policies. To date, 33 communities in the U.S. have been designated as Walk Friendly Communities, and only one, Seattle, Washington, has earned the Platinum-level designation.