Our Mission

California Walks is the statewide voice for pedestrian safety & healthy, walkable communities for people of all ages & abilities.

California Walks partners with state agencies, organizations and communities to establish and strengthen policies and practices that support pedestrian safety and healthy, walkable communities. California Walks works to expand and strengthen a network of community organizations working for pedestrian safety and community walkability through equity, engagement, education, advocacy and collaboration.

Our History

California Walks was founded to help organize and train local pedestrian advocacy groups to broadcast a unified voice for pedestrian issues at the state level. Highway, crosswalk and intersection designs are developed at the state level but ultimately impact the health and safety of local communities. We organized to elevate and broadcast local community voices to state policymakers.  We are all integral to improving our neighborhood streets. Together, we can create safe walking environments that foster healthy lives by promoting safe and equitable access to jobs, education, play and daily destinations, whatever our ages and abilities.

Our Vision: Walkable Communities Across California

At California Walks, we recognize that people vary in their level of walking ability. Our goal is to make walking a safe and accessible form of transportation for everyone at all levels of mobility. We approach our work with the understanding that different populations have different walking needs and face different obstacles to the walking environment. Depending on the physical environment and an individual’s physical ability level, walkability may mean very different things to different people, at different times of day, etc. Pedestrians include both those who walk on two feet and those persons who walk using an assistive device, whether it be a baby in a stroller, a three year old on a tricycle, a young child on a bicycle with training wheels, a youth on skates, or a person using a cane, crutches or wheel chair.

Walkable communities are an essential element of healthy communities. Walkability refers to how safe, friendly and accessible walking is in a neighborhood or community-indicating the number of people who can or will be physically active. It is often thought that a pedestrian environment is walkable for nearly everyone, when it is walkable for an older adult or someone with a stroller/small child. Many factors influence walkability. Common factors include elements of the built environment such as availability of continuous, level sidewalks and pathways, safe, accessible crossings, lighting vehicle speed, number of lanes and street width. Other factors that influence walking and walkability include real and perceived safety from crime, gang activity and aggressive dogs, graffiti, maintenance of trees and greenery, safe access to desired destinations (park, school, grocery, library, post office, etc.), public amenities like benches, drinking fountains, public art, restrooms, and trash cans, among many others.

Walking is a fundamental mode of transportation, and most everyone walks every day. Walking itself is transportation and is also used with every other form of transportation (from car driving to bicycling to riding public transit). For example: users of public transit often have to walk a few to several blocks on either end of the public transit trip, and automobile drivers have to walk from a starting point (home) to the car and then from the car to the door of a destination. While some people walk more than others, it is important that our community environments are safe, accessible, and encourage walking for everyone. When we do so, more people have an option to walk more often, improving their own physical health as well as the surrounding natural environment (fewer greenhouse gas emissions).

See the list of our Network Affiliates to see who you can contact near you.