And research is starting to show the health consequences. Communities designed around more compact, walkable street grids — places that have what the Surgeon General calls “connectivity” — have been correlated in research with reduced rates of obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease (they also have fewer fatal car crashes, another public health problem). One study of a million residents in Toronto found that people in less walkable neighborhoods were more likely to develop diabetes.
The article makes an excellent case for the benefits of living in a walkable community — like ours — but like the hundreds that came before it, it fails to address the way we fund walkability in too many places. Since World War II, we have readily subsidized automobile usage, while here in Pennsylvania, sidewalks remain the bastard step-child of the the state’s transportation policy.