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The best big cities for pedestrians

By: Josh Lew on June 20, 2012, 6:09 p.m.
Vancouver's Granville Island

Photo: Tourism Vancouver

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Vancouver and Seattle

Walkers in the Pacific Northwest might have to tote an umbrella with them when they head out for a stroll, but they will be able to enjoy great pedestrian features no matter which side of the U.S./Canada border they are on. Seattle’s Department of Transportation has taken a very scientific approach to improving their city's walking scene. The improvements have been accomplished by measuring pedestrian flow so that projects can be targeted in the right areas and updating safety features to make it easier and safer for walkers to cross streets. This Washington metropolis has arguably the most improved pedestrian infrastructure in the entire U.S. Seattle's north-of-the-border neighbor, Vancouver, has long been a walkable place. It boasts a great public transportation network and plenty of space that has been set aside with pedestrians in mind. For example, Granville Island (pictured here) is a converted warehouse district that now houses shops and markets and is a favorite strolling venue for visitors and locals alike. Vancouver is a compact city as well, with urban planners building up rather than out. This means that there is little urban sprawl for walking sightseers to contend with.