Water Valley was designed to be a “walkable” for the simple reason that the town was built before cars were invented. What began as a necessity is now considered a key component to growth.
There are many reasons for this trend. For one, there’s been growing interest in healthy living.
According to Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona nearly two out of every three Americans are overweight or obese. Walking is a perfect low-impact, aerobic exercise with numerous health benefits
There is also a rapidly growing “safe routes to school” movement, which seeks to get more kids walking and biking to school – in large part for the health benefits.
At the opposite end of the age spectrum, the AARP has started a major “livable communities” initiative.
Seniors evaluate the condition of sidewalks, crosswalks, and signal timing with the goal of enabling more seniors to be able to walk from where they live to nearby stores and community services.
Connected to the increased interest in walkable communities is the input from Main Street organizations and downtown business groups. They are seeing how their efforts work together since no place is more conducive to walking than Main Street.
The bottom line is in economic value. Many people can, and do, choose where they want to live based on more factors than just their ability to make a living.
Walkability isn’t just for cities. The economic health and livability of small towns depends upon it, too. In a recent national study, participants from small towns emphasized their desire for sidewalks, crossings, and street amenities such as benches, litter containers and planters.
Walkability is in. It’s healthy, doesn’t cost anything and is a good way to meet your neighbors.