Tell SDOT How to Make Seattle Walkable

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The city of Seattle wants to know how, why and where you walk.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is conducting a survey to find out the walking habits of residents all over the city. The results of the survey will help inform the committee that's working on Seattle's Pedestrian Master Plan, a comprehensive document for the city outlining how to make our streets inviting, walkable and accessible to all.

The 11-question survey, which can be completed online within minutes, asks thought-provoking questions about simple decisions that most of us make daily. Where do you walk? Why do you walk? What places do you avoid? What is your favorite place to walk?

"We'll [use the survey results to] map the pedestrian system and see where are places that people are walking. We'll identify where there are pedestrian connections and where there are not. That’s the biggest way responses will be used," says Jennifer Weiland, associate transportation planner at SDOT.

As the pedestrian master plan is finalized by the end of 2008, Wieland says, the SDOT committee will develop project lists and begin prioritizing improvements, like adding sidewalks and streetlights where pedestrians feel unsafe.

So what does Seattle think about walking? According to survey results collected so far, the top three reasons we walk are:
1. To get to shops and businesses
2. For exercise
3. To get to public transit

The top three reasons we don't walk?
1. No sidewalks
2. Too much traffic
3. Weather

And, Weiland added, respondents have been getting creative when describing their ideal walking environment, contributing original drawings and lots of extensive opinions. The best of these will be published on SDOT's website at the close of the survey.

SDOT will be collecting responses through September 15, and is trying to reach out to as broad a sampling of the population as possible, with print versions available in nine different languages and surveys available through neighborhood councils, ethnic outreach groups and more. So please weigh in for a more walkable Seattle! Click here to take the survey now.

Photo credit: Flickr/keepps', licensed by Creative Commons.