BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The widespread adoption of the automobile has changed how much Americans walk to where we live, work and shop.
Mike Schuh reports on a new study showing the Baltimore area is better than average when it comes to getting around on two feet.
One of the benefits of city living is being able to walk around. In a survey of 30 cities, Baltimore’s walkability is ranked at 11th. It would be higher, but the surrounding counties are included. In some areas, getting around without a car is tough.
Noel Starkey lives in Catonsville.
Schuh: “Do you do a lot of walking or do you have to get into the car?”
Starkey: “Have to get in the car.”
Schuh: “But that’s just by the nature of where everything is?”
Mike Evitz explains the finer points of the city’s pedestrian strengths.
“What we’re learning now — and it’s really coming to fruition in Downtown Baltimore — is what we lost in the ’50s and ’60s and ’70s, which is that it’s better to have a mixed-use district,” he said.
Mixed-use is a development where you can live, work and shop–all within walking distance.
“I think it’s great. I live four blocks from [Little Italy]. We walk here all the time. My mother and my aunt are down here. They’re 86 and 87. They can walk here,” said Joe Flaterote.
Trends come and go, but as every family bought a car or two, the suburbs began to boom. But now, cities are having a resurgence, in part because they are so walkable.
“Planning was very car-centric. If you look at places like downtown Towson and downtown Columbia, they’re now trying to retro-fit their urban cores with what’s called new-urbanism,” said Evitz. “It’s a rediscovery of what older cities have always had. And that kind of fell out of fashion, but now it’s coming back in.”
Washington, D.C. is at the top of the list, while Orlando is last.
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