Friday, July 8, 2011

How friendly to pedestrians is your Charlotte 'hood?

SOURCE: Carlton Gideon, UNCC Urban Institute, City of Charlotte
One advantage of being surrounded by people who crunch data for fun (and for degrees, but not for profit, at least not at UNCC's Urban Institute), is that they'll just pop up with some cool factoids and maps.

Geography grad student Carlton Gideon from Wilmington just wandered in with this map showing which Charlotte neighborhoods are the most pedestrian-friendly. The measures used come from the City of Charlotte's 2010 Quality of Life Report, research for which was done by UNC Charlotte's Metropolitan Studies Group. The Pedestrian Friendliness Index was based on the total length of sidewalks in each NSA (neighborhood statistical area) compared to the total length of streets. The index ran from 1 to 2.  In the Quality of Life study, a 0 to 1 measure was Low pedestrian friendliness, 1.1 to 1.3 was Medium, and 1.4 and higher was High pedestrian friendliness.

The report doesn't tally up how many neighborhoods ranked "high" in pedestrian friendliness although my guess is: not many.

What Gideon did was show, on the colorful map atop this posting (click on it for a zoom view), the gradation of neighborhood friendliness.It's interesting to note, for instance, that one of the most pedestrian-friendly areas is a large suburban subdivision, Highland Creek. It's the big blue neighborhood in the northeast corner. The lighter blue neighborhood just south of it includes the University Place area. The UNCC campus area, alas, is the orange pie-shaped neighborhood just south of that. Plenty of sidewalks on campus, but the rest of the area is sadly lacking. Also interesting is the comparatively better rankings of neighborhoods in the farther fringes. Maybe, Gideon theorizes, they were built after the city began requiring sidewalks on both sides of streets in new subdivisions?

You can see below his color-coded pedestrian-friendliness map superimposed on a Google satellite view of the city, where you can zoom in or out. If that doesn't work for you, take this URL and paste it into the search window of Google maps:

View Larger Map


Anonymous said...

This map appears to just measure facilities. Meanwhile, Walkscore focuses on destinations. In reality, both matter to walkability.

Anonymous said...

I had to laugh when I saw that my neighborhood is included in a red zone. True, we don't have a lot of sidewalks, but that doesn't keep people off the streets. Everyone gets out, walks, runs, or rides bikes with time out to visit with the neighbors. Kids are everywhere. We have sidewalks right outside our neighborhood which lead to shopping less than a mile away, a wonderful produce stand, and (to my mind the biggest plus), a nearby elementary school. Ever since CMS assignment policy began keeping kids close to home there has been a real shift in the feel of this neighborhood--without our children scattered all over town it has become a real community. Sidewalks are nice but certainly are not the sole determinant of a friendly environment.

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