Parks and recreation departments, planning departments, visitor’s centers, chambers of commerce, and community centers are all great resources to check out for good places to walk within a community. Some localities even provide maps of designated greenways, walking trails, or urban routes. Local walking clubs, jogging/running clubs, or hiking clubs may also be a useful resource in selecting where to walk.
Some towns, or cultural sites with historic significance, have developed urban walking routes or walking tour routes. These routes may be identified for educational, health, or safety purposes. Most of these types of routes lead through a downtown or business district, although some may lead through a park or other feature using a nature trail.
- Pick places where there are sidewalks or paths separated from traffic. If there are no sidewalks or paths, walk as far from the vehicles as possible on the side of the street facing traffic.
- Limit the number of street crossings and avoid crossing busy or high-speed streets.
- Look for traffic at every driveway and intersection. Be aware of drivers in parked cars that may be getting ready to move.
- Obey all traffic signs and signals.
- Always try to cross the street at an intersection or crosswalk.
- Cross the street safely:
- Stop at the curb or edge of the street;
- Look left, right, left and behind you and in front of you for traffic;
- Wait until no traffic is coming and begin crossing;
- Keep looking for traffic until you have finished crossing; and
- Walk, don’t run, across the street.
- Make eye contact with drivers of vehicles to be sure they see you.
- Wear bright-colored clothes and carry a flashlight or wear reflective gear if it is dark or hard to see.
Also see Tips for Walking Safely to School by the National Center for Safe Routes to School, for more tips that are geared directly to child pedestrians.