Arlington Brings Home Another Gold with Second Walk Friendly Community Designation

Walk Friendly Communities Gold - Arlington, VA 2016-2021It's official: Arlington County has been recognized as a Gold-Level Walk Friendly Community for an unprecedented second term!  The County is one of only 15 communities across the nation -- out of the 58 ranked since the inception of the Walk Friendly Communities program -- to receive the prestigious Gold rating.

Arlington’s first Gold-level designation came in 2011, the inaugural round of the initiative. At the time, the County was one of only four communities nationwide to be designated as a Gold-level Walk Friendly Community. Five years later, Arlington joins Ann Arbor, Mich. as the only original Walk Friendly Communities to receive back-to-back Gold recognition.

Developed by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, Walk Friendly Communities (WFC) is a national recognition program designed to encourage towns and cities across the United States to establish or recommit to a high priority for supporting safer walking environments. The WFC program recognizes communities that are working to improve a wide range of conditions related to walking, including safety, mobility, access and comfort.

A Walk Friendly Community is a city or town that has shown a commitment to improving and sustaining walkability and pedestrian safety through comprehensive programs, plans and policies. Communities can apply to the program to receive recognition in the form of a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum designation. After six years, Seattle, Washington remains the only community to receive the highest, Platinum Level designation.

At the core of the WFC program is a comprehensive assessment tool that evaluates community walkability and pedestrian safety through questions related to engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation and planning. The assessment tool questions are intended to both evaluate conditions for walking and provide communities with feedback and ideas for promoting pedestrian safety and activity.

Based on Arlington County’s assessment tool and other information, reviewers cited the following as reasons for Arlington’s second Gold-Level Walk Friendly Community designation:

  • Pedestrian initiatives like WalkArlington and activities and encouragement programs like Walkabouts, PAL and the Car-Free Diet, which serve as examples to pedestrian advocacy efforts nationwide.
  • Arlington’s outstanding transit-oriented planning, well-conceived pedestrian plan, first-class pedestrian facilities, excellent transit, extensive data collection activities, and innovative transportation demand management strategies.
  • The community’s commitment to instilling positive values and best practices through frequent and dynamic educational opportunities.

Photo: Arlington walkersAnd according to the WFC panel, Arlington exhibits both a commitment to active transportation and a willingness to step outside the status quo to improve walkability and health in the community.

Going forward, Arlington will continue to walk the walk by using this re-designation to learn what our community can do to address remaining areas of need, support pedestrian initiatives in other communities, and elevate the importance of pedestrian safety across the nation.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration and FedEx, WFC distinguishes cities and towns that are leading the way in walkability while also offering feedback to assist communities in improving walkability.

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