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Published on January 6, 2016

Read the mobile-first version of the report [link]
Download the full PDF Version of the Report [PDF]
Download the Executive Summary of the Report [PDF]
Download the Pedestrian Collision Rate by City chart [PDF]
Go to the Regional Walk Scorecard main page

Report Summary

Like many Americans, San Diegans increasingly demand safe, walkable neighborhoods. From City Heights to Carmel Valley, El Cajon to Solana Beach, Lemon Grove to Escondido, families contact our office to learn how to make their streets more walkable.

The San Diego Regional Walk Scorecard measures what cities in the region are doing to answer the call for improved walkability. Circulate San Diego’s predecessor organization WalkSanDiego created the Scorecard in 2012 to raise awareness of the actions that can improve walkability, and to foster healthy competition among cities in the San Diego region to champion walk-friendly policies and projects. This 2015 report is the third scorecard to be released.

Through the production of three scorecards, the methodology used to determine city scores has largely stayed the same. However, based on soliciting input on the Scorecard’s rubric and best practices in improving walkability, some of the individual scoring categories have been modified. These modifications have resulted in changes among the city rankings. The 2015 Scorecard is being released at the time the Vision Zero movement is sweeping across the country to combine Engineering, Education and Enforcement to prevent traffic deaths. This year’s Scorecard has been modified to reflect the best practices inherent to Vision Zero.

The Results

National City emerged as the top scoring city for several reasons. The city continues to vigorously add pedestrian-friendly infrastructure - especially near schools and civic buildings. The city comprehensively plans for improvements, and provides robust education to students and families on safe walkability. National City has the highest pedestrian collision rate in the region but has consistently taken steps to improve safety. This city’s work provides a model for other cities in the region.

Solana Beach came in a close second and moved up from fourth place in the last published Scorecard. This city has completed significant walk friendly improvements on the highly visible Coast Highway 101 corridor, as well as along a number of neighborhood streets. Its recently updated General Plan and Community Active Transportation Strategy outline policies that can be emulated by other regional cities. The city also has a high rate of walking while keeping the number of collisions low.

Encinitas ranked third and is in the top three for the first time. The city has implemented numerous traffic calming projects, completed a citywide pedestrian education program, and recently adopted a comprehensive Safe Routes to School Plan. In addition, the city’s downtown grid network and access to transit helps maintain a high rate of walking.

The Scoring Framework

The Walk Scorecard is comprised of four primary scoring categories:

(1) Status of Walking Index – This category combines: (a) how many people choose walking to get around, and (b) how safe they are when they walk. In general, cities that ranked high in this category tend to have a higher rate of walking, and higher percentage of mixed land uses. Other cities that ranked high have generally fewer people walking and a lower rate of pedestrian vehicle collisions.

(2) Implementation – This category examines data on existing and new infrastructure that enhances walkability, methods used to evaluate safety, and coordination with police to encourage safe and deter unsafe behavior. Examples of categories rated include the presence of a robust network of crosswalks and sidewalks, traffic calming projects (especially around schools), implementation of pedestrian education programs, and the percentage of homes and employment located within a ½ mile of high frequency transit.

(3) Policies – This category reviews various policies that promote walkability in the long term such as Active Transportation or Safe Routes to School Plans, Complete Streets policies, parking policies, and ongoing funding commitments. Both implementation and policies were studied to strike a balance between cities’ established big-picture goals and on-the-ground projects, recognizing that written policies are not always implemented.

(4) BestWalk Field Data – This category relates data collected by volunteers across the region rating the walkability of neighborhood streets via BestWALK, a smartphone application developed by Circulate San Diego.

Press Coverage

Times of San Diego, November 20, 2015