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La Mesa Rated Second-Most Walkable City in San Diego County

The city trails on National City says a study based on the number of people walking, safety, walk-friendly policies, infrastructure and aesthetics.

Walk on La Mesa pedestrians! Your city ranked as the second-most walkable city in the county in a study of the Regional Walkability Scorecard of San Diego County cities released Wednesday by WalkSanDiego, California’s largest walk advocacy group.

La Mesa scored 59.9 out of 100 possible points in the study, which is said to measure the extent to which cities in the San Diego region are responding to the call for more walkable neighborhoods. 

From the Report:

"The second leading city, La Mesa, also has a walkable street pattern and detailed policies to become even more so. In addition, La Mesa has aggressively implemented pedestrian improvements in key areas."

National City emerged with the highest rating in San Diego County. Solana Beach ranked third.

La Mesa's widespread adoption of the Safe Routes to School program was also a factor in its high ranking.

The Scorecard rates the walkability of each city in San Diego County. The comprehensive rating system ranks cities based on the status of walking and considers such factors as the number of people walking, safety, walk-friendly policies, infrastructure and even aesthetics. The study also used crowd sourcing for acquiring data, distributing a free cell phone app that local residents used to rate neighborhood streets. The BestWALK phone app was used by volunteers around the County to rate more than 1,500 streets and intersections.

“We created the Walk Scorecard to focus attention on the issue of walkability and to create a dialogue that will lead to improvements," said WalkSanDiego executive director Jim Stone. "But we also hope to foster a little friendly competition among cities to be the best for walking and active transportation.”

Health and Economic Benefits of Walking

Recent research has shown that people who walk 30 minutes a day have a lower risk for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, according to WalkSanDiego. The economic benefits of walkability have been documented in several studies, including one based in the San Diego region. These studies have demonstrated that houses in walkable neighborhoods command higher prices than similar houses in less walkable places. Transportation research has shown that when people choose to walk or ride bikes instead of driving, significant reductions in green house gases can be achieved.

WalkSanDiego will issue its Walk Scorecard annually. Residents are encouraged to download the BestWALK phone app and rate streets to help collect data for next year’s competition. Cities that did not score as well as others will have some time to adopt new policies and create ways to encourage residents to walk more.

“Who knows, this competition could create a real race among cities to become the most walkable place in the region," said WalkSanDiego’s Jim Stone. "The winners will clearly be the people who benefit from more walkable, livable communities.”

Vince Feril November 14, 2012 at 05:24 AM
La Mesa is just a classic example of a successful development of building walkable communities. A healthy environment and people with healthy lifestyle. I read about walkable communities in this book, " Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism", which is why I know now the importance of building walkable communities and my role to promote it.

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