Issue: Comfortable Walking Distance
Repeated studies have shown that while most Americans do not walk as far to daily necessities as Europeans, the Americans nonetheless will walk a reasonable distance if the path is interesting and at least moderately safe. The distance they will walk without considering driving is quite consistent. Americans (other than children, who often walk twice as far) will walk about five minutes to a destination. Walking briskly, the average adult can travel a quarter of a mile in five minutes. All parts of a neighborhood should therefore be within a quarter-mile radius of the neighborhood center.
That was the old wisdom… now we know more. It’s not the distance that matters most, but the Walk Appeal. Put the American who would walk a quarter-mile on the streets of Paris and that same person will likely walk several miles without thinking of driving. Walk Appeal is a more precise way of predicting how far most people will walk.