On a Saturday in May, two other members of Bike Uptown and I did a “walkability audit” of the intersection of Montrose, Sheridan, and Broadway. The audit is an evaluation of the comfort of a place for pedestrians. It is not science – it is a list of questions designed to encourage in-depth observation of one’s environment.
We audited this intersection because it has the highest number of crashes in our ward. It also has great potential to become a social space: The parts of Uptown away from the lake could benefit from additional places for recreation and socializing.
What did I see? Motorists travelling quickly, narrow sidewalks, with virtually no place to sit. The intersection is complicated, which means that a pedestrian crossing the street must always be on the lookout for cars coming from multiple directions. Whether aware or not, it is an exhausting situation for a walker.
While I have long thought of this intersection as unpleasant, I usually bicycle through it. The audit encouraged me to see this place from a different perspective and understand how it could be improved. A few tweaks to the intersection could serve multiple goals. Widening the sidewalks would produce space for seating and plants while also reducing crossing distances and motor vehicle speeds. Does this sound right to you?
Are you interested in auditing an intersection? Walk San Diego has a Walking Audit tool that many consider to be one of the best. For our audit we tried out the home grown CLOCC Walkability Assessment (link is a .pdf). Check them out and let us know if you’d like to post about your experience!
posted by Andrew Vesselinovitch