There is a national movement, 10 Minute Walk, with a goal of every person in cities of all sizes is within a 10-minute walk to a park, by 2050.

In the Sacramento region, the City of Sacramento (Darrell Steinberg), the City of Elk Grove (Steve Ly), and the City of Citrus Heights (Jeannie Bruins) have signed on. None of the other cities have. Looking at the listing for the western United States, all are cities except for Los Angeles County. I am not sure if park districts can sign on, but that might make some sense for Sacramento County which has a large number of separate park districts as well at Sacramento Regional Parks.

Why is this important right now? Many neighborhoods do not have sidewalks, so people out for physical and mental health must walk in the street. Sometimes that is OK, on very low traffic and low speed streets, but as you may have noticed, some drivers are using the empty roads as an opportunity to speed and driver recklessly, unconstrained by congestion. Even on streets that have sidewalks, they are often much too narrow (4 feet, 5 feet, occasionally 6 feet, rarely more; I am talking about neighborhoods were most people live; central business districts often have wide sidewalks but few residents) to share with the 6-foot physical distancing requirement. Parks are a great alternative. I am not talking about gathering in parks, which has been prohibited or strongly discouraged in most places, but just a safe and pleasant place to walk. Though many of us will be working to prevent a return to previous traffic levels and speeds, the mostly empty streets we are seeing now have a limited shelf life, and the need for parks will be even greater.

Though I’ve been aware of this goal for a while, I have not looked into it or gotten involved yet. As I have the chance, I will post more, perhaps a map of the city or county showing ten minute walk buffers around parks, and information about whether this goal is in the existing and updated general plans for the counties and cities in the region.

In the meanwhile, you might want to look at the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) web page on 10 Minute Walk for some background information.

Enjoy your walks!

10 Minute Walk logo

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. I have made the parks and park access (10-minute walk) maps for Sacramento County available in ArcGIS Online, at https://arcg.is/uabSC. CAVEAT: The walking areas are defined as distance from a centroid (center) of the park. This works for smaller and medium sized parks, but it DOES NOT work for large and/or linear parks. For those parks, I will have to create a point database for the park entrances, and that will take time. So, please enjoy, but don’t take this as accurate. I welcome feedback on its usefulness, what you want to know, and whether you’d use it as a dataset if you had it.

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About Dan Allison

Dan Allison is a Safe Routes to School Coordinator in the Sacramento area. Dan dances and backpacks, as much as possible.

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parks, walkability

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