Safe walkability can boost neighborhood commercial corridors. A 2014 paper on the “economic value of walkability” presents a few reasons: “Walkable shopping areas are often economically successful, improved walkability tends to increase commercial and residential land values, many want to live within walking distances of commercial services, and…current market trends are likely to increase demand for walkable shopping districts.”
And “walkability” isn’t limited to just having a wide enough sidewalk; if a sidewalk feels more social, it will encourage more people to walk and patronize businesses.
In University City, businesses adjacent to parklets reported an average of 20% increase in sales after they were installed.
Jeff Speck lists walkability’s four key components: walking should be useful, safe, comfortable, and interesting.
More specifically, a successfully walkable place should ideally be compact and have diverse land uses; it should have streets that calm traffic and protect pedestrians; it should frame the pedestrian realm with trees and well placed buildings; and it should provide a visually engaging pedestrian experience.