Walking, it does a body good...
and there are plenty of great places to do it in Orange County.
Prevention and the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) have, for several years, presented a list of the 100 Best Cities for Walking in the United States.
Anaheim, and Santa Ana were the only two Orange County Cities to make the list in 2006, the last time I checked it out. ;-D
So what was their criteria at the time?
To qualify, a city must be among the country's 100 most populous. It must also have a high percentage of people who regularly walk--for fitness and health, or to get to and from work. (This criterion counted most this year; in past rankings, the number of residents and their use of public transportation carried more heft, which gave bigger cities an advantage.)
After the APMA and Prevention crunched those numbers, we then factored in mass transit; research from the University of British Columbia in Canada shows that every 30 minutes spent in a car increases your risk of obesity by 3%, and each 0.6 mile walked daily decreases that risk by 5%.
Finally, walker-friendly attributes, such as low crime rates, mild year-round temps, and the number of cultural attractions, were weighed, as well as participation in recreational sports and pet ownership. Why do we care about Fido? His needs can increase your physical activity, speed weight loss, and lower blood pressure, find researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
The overall survey included over 18,000 topics of information about the top 100 cities from sources including the census bureau, other government agencies, and market research surveys.
Okay, sounds good.
The TOP 10 in 2006?
# 1 Portland, Oregon
#2 Colorado Springs, Colorado
#3 Madison, Wisconsin
#4 Boise City, Idaho
#5 Las Vegas, Nevada
#6 Austin, Texas
#7 Virginia Beach, Virginia
#8 Anchorage, Alaska
#9 Fremont, California
#10 Raleigh, North Carolina
The old article, no longer online, had Anaheim ranked #28, and Santa Ana ranked #69.
By comparison Los Angeles was #44, and Long Beach was #64.I went to the Prenvention website, today, and found an updated collection of lists. ;-D
The new Top 10?
1. Cambridge, MA.
2. New York City
3. Ann Arbor, MI.
4. Chicago, IL.
5. Washington DC
6. San Francisco, CA.
7. Honolulu, HI.
8. Trenton, NJ.
9. Boston, MA.
10. Cincinnati, OH.
What was interesting was that only two other California cities made the Top 100:
Oakland came in at #16, and Anaheim moved up to 26th.
What happened in to knock Santa Ana, Los Angeles, and Long Beach out of the elite?
Prevention reviewed the 10 biggest cities in each state, and ranked them, thus presenting readers with the best city for each state, and the 500 best cities in the USA for Walking.
It is here that I find the above missing cities getting their due. ;-D
1. San Francisco
4. San Diego
5. Santa Ana
6. Long Beach
7. Los Angeles
9. San Jose
It is interesting that while Anaheim has the highest percentage of people who walk for exercice in the state, its number of residents who walk to work is extremely low!
Santa Ana has the states 2nd highest park-per-square mile rating, has more schools-per square mile than any city in the state (19th in the nation!), but averages 1.99 cars per household, the 2nd highest in the state.
Check out the Best Walking Cities Finder Page for more informantion, and other related walking resources.
I visited the Walk Score Website, and plugged in my home address to see what would happen. ;-D
What is Walk Score? We help homebuyers, renters, and real estate agents find houses and apartments in great neighborhoods. Walk Score shows you a map of what's nearby and calculates a Walk Score for any property. Buying a house in a walkable neighborhood is good for your health and good for the environment.
The walkability of an address depends on how far you are comfortable walking—after all, everything is within walking distance if you have the time.
The result for my address/neighborhood was 72 out of 100. ;-D
70 - 90 = Very Walkable: It's possible to get by without owning a car.
The Walk Score Website recently made Planetizen’s annual list of the 10 best planning, design and development websites!
It has interesting articles on why walking matters, and what makes a neighborhood walkable.