Why Walkable Streets are More Economically Productive

By Rachel Quednau, Strong Towns

What is the value of a street where people can walk safely? Why build streets that are constructed with the needs of people in mind, not just the needs of cars? Many people concerned with pedestrian safety and "walkability" care about these issues because they feel that walking is good exercise or that walkable places are more attractive or that walking is better for the environment than driving. These are all valid arguments and may convince some of those reading this article that walkability is important. But what I want to talk about today isn’t an argument based on values or aesthetics. It’s an argument based on pure dollars and cents — one that should convince people with a myriad of values and political leanings that people-oriented places must be a priority if we want our communities to be economically prosperous. Again and again, when we look at streets oriented...