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Is Tacoma a Walkable City?


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Yes, Tacoma, WA is considered a walkable city with a walkability score of 54%. It offers several neighborhoods where amenities are easily accessible on foot, supporting a lifestyle that values convenience and sustainability.

Tacoma, a mid-sized urban port city in Washington State, is renowned for its vibrant culture, historic architecture, and scenic landscapes. But is it a walkable city? Walkability refers to how friendly a city is to walking. Factors affecting walkability include the presence of footpaths, sidewalks, pedestrian rights-of-way, traffic and road conditions, land use patterns, building accessibility, and safety, among others. A walkable city promotes its residents' health, the environment, and the economy.

The Primary Benefits of Tacoma's Walkability

One of the main benefits of walkability is the encouragement of physical activity. With Tacoma, the city lends itself well to this aspect. With the city's numerous parks, such as Point Defiance Park and Wright Park, residents have plenty of opportunities to take leisurely strolls, engage in brisk walking or even jogging.

Furthermore, Tacoma has a strong community vibe, with various shops, restaurants, and cultural sites within walking distance of residential areas. This integration of different land uses makes it convenient for residents to walk from place to place, reducing the need for vehicular transportation and contributing to environmental sustainability.

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An In-depth Look at Tacoma's Walkability Components

Pedestrian Infrastructure

Tacoma has a robust network of sidewalks and pedestrian paths. The city's commitment to improving pedestrian safety and accessibility is evident in its infrastructure design. Examples of this infrastructure include the Schuster Parkway Promenade, a pedestrian-friendly path along the waterfront, and the Prairie Line Trail, a historic railway line converted into a pedestrian walkway.

Land Use and Building Accessibility


Tacoma's land use patterns also contribute to its walkability. The downtown area, in particular, boasts a mix of residential and commercial properties, cultural institutions, and public spaces within walking distance of each other. This mixed-use development promotes walking as a viable mode of transport for daily activities.

Considerations for Specific Groups

However, Tacoma's walkability may present challenges for specific groups, particularly the elderly and persons with disabilities. While the city has made significant strides in improving accessibility, some areas lack curb ramps or have uneven sidewalks, making it difficult for these individuals to navigate.

Practical Advice for Walking in Tacoma

If you plan to explore Tacoma on foot, make sure to check the Walk Score of the area you're visiting. This score rates walkability on a scale of 0 to 100 based on the distance to amenities like groceries, parks, schools, and dining. For a more enjoyable walking experience, you could also visit during one of Tacoma's many street festivals, which often feature closed-off streets and a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere.

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As you explore Tacoma on foot, you'll discover that the city's walkability extends beyond its infrastructure and land use. It's a city that values community, health, and sustainability, making it a great place to explore step by step.

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