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Santee Rated Least Walkable City in the County

That's right- the bottom of a list based on the number of people walking, safety, walk-friendly policies, infrastructure and aesthetics.

Heads up Santee pedestrians- your city ranked at the very bottom of a Regional Walk Scorecard of San Diego County cities released Wednesday by WalkSanDiego, California’s largest walk advocacy group.

Santee scored 37.2 out of 100 possible points in the study, which is said to measure the extent to which cities in the San Diego region are responding to the call for more walkable neighborhoods. 

From the Report:

"Cities that scored lowest – Santee, El Cajon, and Lemon Grove – are all East County cities built primarily around the use of automobiles as the main form of transportation. In addition, these cities scored lower on policies and implementation of street improvements that improve walking safety or convenience. This is not to say there are no such policies – indeed, all three have focused on increasing walking, bike safety, traffic calming, and transit use in key areas, such as residential neighborhoods, Main Street corridors, and trolley stations. Due to past planning decisions, however, creating safe and convenient walking conditions will be a long-term effort for these cities."

National City emerged with the highest rating in San Diego County, closely followed by La Mesa and Solana Beach. 

Santee got points for having a trolley stop, but suffered in the rankings because of issues such as the lack of an east-west bicycle cooridor, which the city has discussed remedying as part of the Prospect Avenue redevelopment project.

The Scorecard rates the walkability of each city in San Diego County. The comprehensive rating system ranks cities based on the status of walking and considers such factors as the number of people walking, safety, walk-friendly policies, infrastructure and even aesthetics. The study also used crowd sourcing for acquiring data, distributing a free cell phone app that local residents used to rate neighborhood streets. The BestWALK phone app was used by volunteers around the County to rate more than 1,500 streets and intersections.

“We created the Walk Scorecard to focus attention on the issue of walkability and to create a dialogue that will lead to improvements," said WalkSanDiego executive director Jim Stone. "But we also hope to foster a little friendly competition among cities to be the best for walking and active transportation.”

Health and Economic Benefits of Walking

Recent research has shown that people who walk 30 minutes a day have a lower risk for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, according to WalkSanDiego. The economic benefits of walkability have been documented in several studies, including one based in the San Diego region. These studies have demonstrated that houses in walkable neighborhoods command higher prices than similar houses in less walkable places. Transportation research has shown that when people choose to walk or ride bikes instead of driving, significant reductions in green house gases can be achieved.

WalkSanDiego will issue its Walk Scorecard annually. Residents are encouraged to download the BestWALK phone app and rate streets to help collect data for next year’s competition. Cities that did not score as well as others will have some time to adopt new policies and create ways to encourage residents to walk more.

“Who knows, this competition could create a real race among cities to become the most walkable place in the region," said WalkSanDiego’s Jim Stone. "The winners will clearly be the people who benefit from more walkable, livable communities.”

P. Ruggles November 01, 2012 at 04:14 PM
This can't be true, Santee is extremely walk friendly (Santee Lakes; Mission Trails; Trolly Station, etc.). To include Santee with El Cajon and Lemon Grove is unbelievable. Very safe and wonderful community.
Carlee Zank November 01, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Over by my house it is not walkable. Lack of sidewalks and or crappy ones. This bummed me out moving here as I am very active and like to be with my kids. But it made stroller riding and bike riding outside of our complex dangerous. We are near cottonwood and buena vista area.
Jennifer J November 01, 2012 at 06:09 PM
A lot of our residential sidewalks corners do not have curb ramps. It's noticeable to me as a mom with small children that I've pushed in strollers over the years. I've also watched my wheelchair dependent neighbor travel in the bike lanes around town. I've also noticed some sidewalks stop suddenly - behind the Ross store along the river or along Cuyamaca's east side between the river and the Trolley Square shopping center. The Riverwalk development by the Sportsplex is very pedestrian friendly, as well as the new Town Center Community Park. It appears as though the new areas of our city have been designed with pedestrians in mind, but it would be to see some improvements made in our already existing neighborhoods as well.
juliana November 01, 2012 at 06:26 PM
I wish people driving towards the 52 on mast would slow down and when you approach a yellow light please dont speed up to make it. Ive almost got hit when im crossing with my kid in her stoller by people running red lights when i have the right of way. Ive even had this guy wait for me to get to the island and the run his red light! People stop being so rude especially when parents have kids in strollers and also when you see kids walking to or from school!!! Next time im taking pictures and making sure i get a clear view of your license plates!
Steven Bartholow (Editor) November 01, 2012 at 06:38 PM
I think the study is deceiving in that it's not looking at hiking and trails, which we have many great examples of, but more looking at pedestrian access along streets, sidewalk conditions, bicycle friendliness, number of residents that walk to get around, etc. While the city is safe according to many factors, I have to ask, do you walk around town much?
Brian Hanifin November 01, 2012 at 08:30 PM
This is insane! Santee has sidewalks EVERYWHERE! When I drive on Pepper Drive in El Cajon (or is that Lakeside?) most afternoons I see a little girl and her younger brother (maybe 7 & 5 years old) walking IN THE STREET. It scares me to see that. I am thankful that Santee made it a priority to get sidewalks everywhere in town.
Suzie Greenberg November 01, 2012 at 08:41 PM
I completely agree with this. We have a ton of recreational places (hiking, lakes, etc) but as far as getting from point A to point B via walking, Santee is really lacking safe and continuous sidewalks. My street has no sidewalks so I drive my dog to walk him or drive somewhere to do my walking. That was something that never occurred to me until I actually moved in to my house. And now I hate that I can't just walk on a sidewalk all the way to the store. Even if it's several miles, I would still walk just to get exercise.
Suzie Greenberg November 01, 2012 at 08:47 PM
absolutely true. Where I believe the study is accurate is that I, and many, have to get in our cars and drive to these walk friendly areas. In an ideal world I'd like to step out on my street and walk on a sidewalk to a place of need (store, restaurant, etc.). Prospect doesn't even have a continual sidewalk and that's very common street with an elementary school.
Steven Bartholow (Editor) November 01, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Recent letter to the editor addressing the sidewalk problem and walking to school- Connect the Mast Boulevard Gap for a Safer Walk to Santana- http://santee.patch.com/articles/mast-boulevard-connector
Chris Carmichael November 01, 2012 at 10:05 PM
I walked from Mast Park to Lakeside a month ago (during the cool days). It was wonderful until I reached Magnolia. I wanted to continue on the river; and it is fenced. I had to work my way up to Mast and go through the hinderlands of the unknown before getting on Mast Avenue. I know the two blocks that are unfinished is not a great distance, but the fear of snakes in the summer was on my mind. The journey into Lakeside was not easy either. The 1.5 mile river stretch that recently opened is nice; but it empties into an industrial area. However, I believe that Santee can make great strides in making this community more "walk" friendly. The stretch from Mast Park to Magnolia was enjoyable.
P. Ruggles November 02, 2012 at 10:07 AM
I walk every Saturday approximately 3 miles from the woodglen vista area to trolly station and back through the new ball parks then up magnolia. I walk in the early morning hours and it is a very easy and safe walk. Maybe i'm just lucky enough to live in the area I live in, I am not as familiar with walking on the south side of Mission Gorge. Overall I still think Santee has alot to offer and welcome any and all improvements the city provides.
Jay Umphres November 02, 2012 at 02:33 PM
I've both walked and cycled the streets of santee for several years. That said, I strongly disagree with WalkSanDiego's rating. Sidewalks and trails abound in the city, and are both walkable, and frequently walked. I give WalkSanDiego a low score for accuracy in lumping Santee with surrounding communities (which also aren't altogether unwalkable). I'll examine and contemplate the criteria and conclusions this advocacy group sets forth in their Blog, albeit skeptically.
Chris Carmichael November 02, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Nice Jay! Someone mentioned south of Mission Gorge, east of Fanita, it is not "friendly" towards walkers or bicycles. The path from the new ball field to Magnolia could be improved; but at least there is a path.
rudy reyes November 02, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Santee council is to blame! The council is so business oriented and the community suffers with bad infrastructure! Vote out the encumbants
mamacita November 02, 2012 at 03:53 PM
I guess I'm lucky in my location. I walk all the time. I'm very central to the SportsComplex, Target, Costco, my bank, the Trolley Center, grocery shopping, schools, gas, food, etc. I can walk anytime I want/can. I never realized other parts of Santee aren't walking friendly. I walk 3-6 miles 5 times a week. I really love Santee...minus the jail.
Mary November 03, 2012 at 01:35 AM
I'd like to see the walking area from the wooden walk-over bridge, going up from the river to Walmart parking lot improved. More people would walk to the shopping area if it was easier to navigate. Underbrush needs to be cleared in order to control the mosquito problem.
Vince Feril November 14, 2012 at 05:14 AM
There are benefits of building walkable communities just what I've learned on this book, " Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism", which speaks about the future of our environment. The book can be read here http://tinyurl.com/GreenIllusionsBook

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