A pedometer is a great way to track your exercise and distance. Ten thousand steps is roughly five miles. Even at a leisurely pace, you will burn between 150 and 200 calories for every five miles that you walk. Speed it up and your results are even greater.
A natural way to get around
Today’s car-dependent world encourages people to drive everywhere, but considering Santa Cruz’s physical layout and natural beauty, many residents and visitors choose to walk as often as possible.
Walking in Santa Cruz County
For leisure: Walking is a top leisure activity in Santa Cruz County, whether it is a stroll on the beach, a jog in the redwoods north of UCSC, a bird walk on Watsonville slough trails, or a hike through the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park (which contains over 40 miles of trails!)
Commuting: If you live close to your workplace, walking can be a perfect fit for your commute. If your home is within a mile of your workplace, you can easily get to work in thirty minutes. Commutes by bus often involve a short walk to the bus stop as well. Imagine the time you will save by skipping the gym workout simply by getting your exercise as part of your daily commute.
Safety: Whether you walk to work, for fun, or because your dog needs to get outside, remember that any time you use the roadway, for driving or walking, you need to consider your safety. Remain alert for cyclists, drivers, and other pedestrians, and scan your path for obstacles. If you walk at night, wear light-colored or reflective clothing to make yourself more visible. Be extra careful when walking and texting or talking on your cell phone. These distractions can make you less observant about your surroundings and potential hazards.
Pedestrian Hazard Report
The RTC’s Hazard Report allows walkers to report access problems to their public works department. Broken sidewalks, overgrown vegetation, and vehicles blocking sidewalks all interfere with pedestrian access. By noticing and reporting these problems, walkers can improve their neighborhoods and their walking experience.
Sidewalk Maintenance and Sharing the Road
A subgroup of RTC’s Elderly and Disabled Transportation Advisory Committee (E&D TAC) published a Sidewalk Maintenance Report and Appendices outlining jurisdiction and property owner responsibilities and practices for maintaining sidewalks along public streets. In 2014, this same group developed a brochure titled “What Pedestrians and Motorists Want Each Other to Know.” Available in both English and Spanish, printed copies are also available upon request.
Is it easy to walk there?
Two great online tools can help you assess the walkability of a neighborhood. This information might influence the route you take to get to the grocery store or where you choose to rent or buy your home based on the amenities and transportation services available. Check out Walk Score and Maponics Walkability services for details.
Other Walking Resources
- Capitola Walks
- Mission Pedestrian
- Community Traffic Safety Coalition
- Google Maps– includes walking directions