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Ditch Your Car, Save Money & Visit These Pedestrian Friendly Cities Across The US

The United States is unquestionably an autocentric nation and after the rapid suburban sprawl ensuing the 1950s, getting around by foot is next to impossible and often downright dangerous.

Pedestrian Sign

Pedestrian accidents are at unacceptable numbers.

In 2016 alone, there were over 70,000 pedestrian injuries and 4,280 deaths. Luckily as the nation makes a shift away from the automobile, cities are becoming more and more pedestrian friendly.

Top 10 Walkable & Pedestrian Friendly Cities in the U.S.

Below is a table list of the most walkable cities in the United States. According to WalkScore.com a pedestrian friendly city or is ranked 90 to 100.

70 to 89 is very walkable which means most errands can be accomplished on foot. 

Included is the percentage amount of pedestrians which walk instead of driving for regular commutes.

RankCityWalk ScorePercentage PedestrianPopulation
1New York City, NY8510.72%8,175,133
2San Francisco, CA84.99.82%805,235
3Boston, MA79.213.36%617,594
4Chicago, IL74.35.8%2,695,598
5Philadelphia, PA74.19.22%1,526,006
6Seattle, Washington73.77.72%608,660
7Washington, D.C.7312.27%601,723
8Miami, Florida72.59.29%399,457
9Minneapolis, Minnesota69.3.6.85%382,578
10Oakland, California729.44%420,005

Here are the cities that are my top choices:

New York CityPicture of New York City

Note: New York City is a one of the few places you literally could live without a car. In fact, some say it may be a hindrance more than a help.

Hands down New York should take top spot on this list no matter who is writing the article. Having been a driver in that city I can tell you that I envied the people I saw walking outside my vehicle.

It was almost a constant stream of new faces turning the corner or crossing the street and it’s no wonder why.

The city is jam packed with shops, eateries, and parks for its citizens to actively enjoy.

Combine that with the always on atmosphere of that city and you have tons of walking activity at night or day.

Atop of all of that the folks over at walks score rank New York a walk score of 85 putting it at the top of the heap.

Cool Neighborhoods to Check Out

  1. Union Square
  2. Bowery
  3. NoLita

San FranciscoSan Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

Note: San Francisco is my 2nd choice. You could get by without a vehicle with ease. At times it would be nice to have a car for longer commutes.

Up next we have beautiful San Francisco with a walk score of 84 this city clearly has its pedestrian infrastructure well laid out.

The infrastructure I mention would be the BART and MUNI systems which each provide transits through different means to a broad area.

BART provides subway and heavy-rail systems to the Bay Area while the MUNI maintains the regulations for a broad range of vehicles.

San Francisco’s city has some steep hills but the result for those who walk is much stronger legs while enjoying the beautiful sights and culture that San Francisco can offer.

The mixture of ethnicities within the city makes for a progressive and interesting city as well.

Cool Neighborhoods to Check Out

  1. Chinatown
  2. Downtown-Union Square
  3. Lower Nob Hill

BostonDowntown Boston, Massachusetts

Note: Boston to me is similar to New York with a lot less people. You could go without a car for life in Boston.

Boston is an impressive city all around when you really think about it. An eastern US city home to many great colleges and companies as well as a diverse population.

Boston was also home to the world’s first subway system which provided regular everyday citizens the ability to get from downtown to midtown without the need for a car.

So get in the MBTA and ride up to Fenway park and catch a Red Sox game while touring the beautiful city of Boston.

Cool Neighborhoods to Check Out

  1. Chinatown – Leather District
  2. North End
  3. Bay Village

PhiladelphiaDowntown Philadelphia, PA

Note: Philadelphia is an awesome place to life without a vehicle. At times though it would be nice to have one. Which is why I put it as my 4th choice.

Philadelphia is a large city with a unique culture that ultimately ended up calling themselves the city of brotherly love.

This city has deep historical roots that every American should be aware of.

The dwellers of Philadelphia travel mainly by way of a mixture of bus, taxi, and subway.

This gives it the ability to provide a robust range of transportation means at varied price points.

Atop of that Philadelphia is home to some great food and culture, after all it is the city of Brotherly Love.

Cool Neighborhoods to Check Out

  1. Center City West
  2. Avenue of the Arts South
  3. Rittenhouse Square

Final Thoughts, Honorable Mentions, & Transit Friendly Cities

While these are not the only cities I would put on this list they are truly shining examples of working public transit and pedestrian consciousness.

Here is list of the top transit cities.

Top Transit Cities

Included below is a list of the top transit friendly cities. Or city’s with awesome public transportation.

Anything from 90 to 100 is a riders paradise.

From 70 to 89 is excellent transit and 50 to 69 is good public transportation.

RankCityTransit ScoreTransit RidershipPopulation
1New York City, NY84.156.5%8,175,133
2San Francisco, CA80.433.1%805,235
3Boston, MA74.433.7%617,594
4Washington, D.C.70.637.4%601,723
5Jersey City, NJ70.047.6%247,597
6Philadelphia, PA66.826.2%1,526,006
7Newark, NJ64.926.7%277,140
8Chicago, IL64.727.6%2,695,598
9Miami, Florida59.4 11.4%399,457
10Arlington, VA58.026.4%207,627
11Baltimore, MD57.8 18.6%620,961
12Minneapolis, Minnesota57.513.1%382,578
13Seattle, Washington57.011.4%608,660
14Honolulu, HI55.6 8.4%337,256
10Oakland, California55.120.3%420,005

Others cities I feel that deserve an honorable mention would be Washington DC with its rail, bus, and taxi system as well as the suburbs in surrounding cities like Fairfax, Virginia.

I bring Fairfax up as its walkways and paths truly allow residents to walk from business to business just by walking a few hundred feet down a well maintained gravel path.

These paths were almost everywhere and truly allowed an individual to travel to friends, girlfriends, shops, and schools.

All in all any one of those cities listed above would be a pleasure for an individual to travel through as a pedestrian.

Eduardo Dieguez

Eduardo Dieguez

This article was written by Eduardo Dieguez. Eduardo has been a content creator for Linear Automotive for the past year and has personal experience living in a city that is pedestrian friendly.

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