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6 CHAPTER 2 Pedestrian Characteristics Why People Walk Psychology of Space The decision to walk usually takes into account the distance To attract pedestrians to a place, these key psychological of the trip, the perceived safety of the route, and the comfort and principles should be considered (6): convenience of walking versus an alternative mode (2). Distance is the primary factor in the initial decision to walk. Most pedes- Security. Streets with cars moving too fast or making too trian trips (73 percent) are 0.5 mile (0.8 km) or less (3, 4) in much noise or streets with too many hidden pockets, too length, with 1 mile (1.6 km) generally being the limit that most little activity, places that are dark, isolated, or broken up by people are willing to travel on foot. Effects on the perceived and "dead" corners, open parking lots, blank walls, or block- actual safety of pedestrians include sidewalks that are too nar- long voids tend to dissuade people from walking there. row or adjacent to moving lanes of traffic along with pedestrian Comfort. Streets should have basic amenities such as crossings that are intimidating because of confusing signal indi- enough sidewalk space, separation from the street, an edge cations, excessive crossing distances, or fast-turning vehicles. The or transition between uses of space, shade, and rich visual immediate physical environment also affects the comfort and scenery to attract the pedestrian. convenience of walking. For example, shade trees or places to sit Convenience. Streets must provide a blend of services and and rest may encourage pedestrian activity. The appearance of economic life for the pedestrian. buildings, landscaping, and the street itself can contribute to a Efficiency and Affordability. Streets that are overly expen- pleasant visual environment. A 1990 Harris Poll found that sive for the volume and categories of people that will use 59 percent of all respondents would be willing to walk more them cannot pay their way, but the quality of a street often if there were safe, designated paths or walkways (5). should not be compromised. The 1995 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey Welcoming Feeling. People must feel welcomed by the found person-trips to be distributed as follows: 5.4 percent place and inspired to return, a feeling imparted by walking, 86 percent private vehicles, 1.8 percent transit, the employees of an establishment, by the people that share 1.7 percent school bus, and 4.9 percent other (3). The 1995 that street, and by the physical presence of the street itself. survey also determined trips by trip purposes (see Table 2). The Washington State DOT's Pedestrian Facilities Guide- book (4) determined similar purposes for pedestrian trips: Why People Do Not Walk According to Washington State's Pedestrian Facilities Guide- To and from work and school, book (4), pedestrian trips account for 39 percent of all trips less Social visits and events, than 1 mile, ranking second only to private motor vehicle Appointments, trips. Despite this percentage, walking typically composes only Health and exercise, 1 to 4 percent of all commuter trips in the United States over- Errands and deliveries, all (4). Common reasons for low levels of pedestrian travel Recreation, include Extracurricular activities, Combined (recreational walking while shopping), and Poor facilities or lack of sidewalks or walkways, Multimodal trips (walking to a bus stop). Failure to provide a contiguous system of pedestrian facilities,