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Walking in Seattle Today

Seattle is consistently recognized as one of the nation’s safest and most accessible cities for walking. Hills, valleys, and lakes as well as rainy, dark winters are unique challenges for pedestrians in Seattle. The presence, quality, and connectivity of Seattle’s pedestrian network varies greatly throughout the city, and improvements can be made. Some neighborhoods, such as Capitol Hill, Fremont, and West Seattle Junction, have a commercial core that serves as a destination for activity and is easily accessible on foot. This pattern does not exist in all of Seattle’s neighborhoods, many of which have fewer destinations and streets lacking sidewalks or other pedestrian infrastructure.

Both the natural and built environment impact walking opportunities and can create barriers that are especially challenging for children, people with disabilities, and older residents:

  • Hills, valleys, and lakes as well as rainy, dark winters are unique challenges for pedestrians in Seattle.
  • Walking is a less viable form of transportation in areas of the city where individual motor vehicle travel is given priority, access to transit is poor, and there are few destinations and services within walking distance to residences.
  • Walking conditions along and across streets with high traffic volumes and high speeds are uncomfortable, especially in locations that have long blocks and auto-oriented development.
  • Free-flowing on- and off-ramps along highways and major arterial roads, such as Interstate-5 and Aurora, make pedestrian crossings difficult.
  • Signs, overgrown vegetation, parked cars, and other elements that encroach on a walking path can inhibit walking.

The State of the Pedestrian Environment Report provides additional information about walking in Seattle today.


Walking in Seattle Today
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