Go take a hike – in Sacramento.
Earlier this month Prevention Magazine, a monthly healthy-living magazine, ranked Sacramento as the nation’s 24th best walking city in their list of “25 Best Walking Cities.” San Francisco ranked number one.
Prevention Magazine’s fitness editor Natalie Gingerich said Sacramento had many factors that helped make it to the list – though not the top. Sacramento’s mass transit use is limited, but she said to keep an eye out, as Sacramento is improving.
“[The city of Sacramento] has a lot of great things in the works. They have a Pedestrian Master Plan. It’s a great city to watch,” Gingerich said. “There’s good traffic calming efforts … and some great parks and trails.“
The survey, co-sponsored by the American Podiatric Medical Association, judged the 100 most populated American cities – meaning Davis was not reviewed. Factors included sprawl and population density, crime rates, number of people who use mass transit or walk or bike to commute, number of parks and trails and other criteria, Gingerich said.
What does it take to be the most walkable city in America? Gingerich said San Francisco ranked first because of its well-utilized mass transit system, low pedestrian fatality rate and close proximity to many walking and hiking trails.
Prevention’s list included Sacramento’s PARK(ing) Day as a key reason Sacramento qualifies as a top walking city. PARK(ing) Day, originally based in San Francisco, is a day devoted to promoting green space over paved space.
Sacramento event coordinator and walkability advocate Eric Fredericks, said this September will be the third annual PARK(ing) Day in Sacramento. Last year, several hundred people came out to J Street in downtown Sacramento to convert parking spaces into green spaces – bringing with them donated trees, park benches and more, Fredericks said.
“I think we dedicate too much space to the car,” Fredericks said. “Something like 70 percent of Sacramento is dedicated to cars.“
The city of Sacramento, with its Pedestrian Master Plan, hopes to make the capital even more walking-friendly, said city of Sacramento Department of Transportation’s media and communication specialist Linda Tucker.
“There’s a movement afoot to do more complete streets – streets more bikeable and walkable by design, including bike lanes, street lighting,” Tucker said.
Walk Sacramento, a nonprofit pedestrian and walking advocacy group, also works to bring more complete streets to Sacramento, said executive director Anne Geraghty.
Funded through grants and membership dues, Walk Sacramento works with local Sacramento communities, city planners and elected officials to help with land development and changes in streets, including more pedestrian signals and better sidewalks.
“Everyone wants their communities to be walkable,” Geraghty said.
SASHA LEKACH can be reached at email@example.com.