As of 2009, 3% of Seattle commuters bike and almost 8% walk to work. Over 13,000 bikers in Seattle and the region make up the membership of Cascade Bicycle Club, however there’s no organization for pedestrians with that type of membership.
Could an organization dedicated to walking be as successful as Cascade?
Feet First is a walking-focused organization, but they’re not trying to bring pedestrians together on a large scale. They do support walking in the city through their grant-funded safe routes to school program and neighborhood maps.
Perhaps since walking is such a common activity, pedestrians have no group identity the way bikers do and would not join together in such strength. I’m not aware of a large, successful walking organization in any other American city, but the benefits of one could be significant.
A visible, volunteer-led organization could do the following: Lead and coordinate social, educational, and historic walks open to all fellow walkers; Effectively disseminate news and events related to walking to the pedestrian community at large; and Work together as a group to improve conditions for walking.
Walkers around the city could get involved with this organization and partner with existing organizations to support, not replace, an organization like Feet First.
One concept to unite pedestrians into a single pedestrian body focused on the aspects of learning, acting, and walking is outlined in this presentation.
While there may be some interest in a new organization for pedestrians, could an organization like this earn enough support to become “Seattle’s walking body”?
To be successful, this volunteer-run organization would need a dedicated group of leaders and supporters, in addition to partnerships with other organizations. Are there enough walking enthusiasts out there to lead something like this? And enough people who identify as pedestrians to join in support?
This linked survey is intended to gauge interest and support to answer the questions above. Please feel free to distribute this link to others who may be interested and respond to the poll below.