October 31, 2006

Halloween Neighborhood Walkability Test

This is one of the best days to easily see whether a neighborhood is walker-friendly.

Can kids easily spend an hour or more walking from home to home, or do parents have to drive them from place to place?

Can they easily cross the streets, or does it feel dangerous?

Does it feel pleasant and safe to be walking around?

Does it feel like there are "windows on the street," with people inside homes well knit into the fabric of the streetscape? Or are kids mostly see blank walls or big garage doors as they walk in the neighborhood?

If you run out of candy while it's still light out, could you send a middle-schooler out on foot to buy some more?

Could kids walk home from school in costume and trick or treat on the way?

If local stores were giving out candy, could kids easily walk from store to store?


  1. I agree with your comments. But there's more. From a kid's point of view, a neighborhood can be measured by how much goodies you get. When my nephews were young they lived in one of new newer developments in South Natick, where they had to walk at least five minutes to get from one house to the next. They quickly decided they'd do better on my street, in the old part of South Natick. They joined my son on our street and covered the 40 houses in a half hour and went on to the neighboring streets. We thought that was pretty good until we heard from my neice and nephews in Somerville who come home with bags and bags of goodies.

    Adults have convinced themselves that density is somehow bad, but from a kids point it's a good thing. Not only do they get a lot more candy, but there are more kids to play with, more things to do, and more interesting places to go.

  2. All of the Halloween walkability issues are a strong "yes" when considering many of the postwar housing developments in both Framingham and Natick, such as Pinefield, Wethersfield, Westfield, and loads of other places where middle-class Campanelli and such homes were built. They even have small strip malls built on their edges, for convenience shopping. Why did those neighborhoods lose their snob appeal?