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Walking Community

By: Laurabree Austin
By: Laurabree Austin

Walking is one of the best forms of exercise, but you have to have a good surface to walk on to really benefit!

Now several organizations joined forces in Charleston to start looking at how the city can become a more walkable community.

Are the sidewalks or walking paths continuous? Are they well maintained, or do they have potholes? Are the surroundings attractive window displays in a downtown?

Ron Eck is visiting from Morgantown. He's with the Department of Civil Engineering at West Virginia University and explains why it should be important for an area to be walkable.

“The epidemic of physical inactivity in the United States and walking is a great way to meet. Your physical activity or needs or requirements good sidewalks, mean more walkers and that can only help business. If you're driving by at 35 miles per hour you may not see window displays but if you're walking by you take time to window shop and see something you’ll go into the store and check it out.”

So what do people in Charleston think?

William Porth says, “I think it's extremely walkable in most areas, it has some bad parts as any town does. I wouldn't want to walk everywhere.”

Julie Blackwood comments, “Charleston’s downtown is really the best place as far as sidewalks. But you get up in the south hills area where I grew up and no sidewalks whatsoever. It's very dangerous to walk there.”

Eck says he's explored part of Charleston including the West Side's Edgewood area and part of downtown. He says he would give a passable grade to the areas he saw and that they had great potential.

There's also an effort to make Ashland a more walkable community. Leaders there have fixed broken sidewalks and created more walking trails.


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