Hotels and convention centers use the
modifier “within walking distance” to describe proximity to city
attractions as if the phrase had some objective meaning. Does
First, let’s define a reasonable,
healthy walking speed as 3.2 miles per hour, which translates to
walking one mile in just less than 19 minutes. This is based on
research by British professor Richard Wiseman, who recently
recorded average walking speeds in 32 cities around the world (www.paceoflife.co.uk).
Here’s how some convention center and
convention and visitor bureau sources across the country define
“within walking distance.”
Anaheim, Calif.: up to
three-quarters of a mile. Denver: 13 blocks or
just less than a mile. Hartford, Conn.: 10 minutes
or just more than half a mile. Indianapolis: 15
minutes or 0.8 miles. Kansas City, Mo.: eight
blocks or a mile. New York: 15 blocks or 0.8
miles. Milwaukee: up to 1.4 miles.
Minnesota: a mile. Palm Springs,
Calif.: four blocks or 0.8 miles.
Seattle: less than 10 minutes or 0.53 miles.
Tampa: a mile.
These might be considered generous
definitions. Luc Henau, chairman, special affairs, of the
Netherlands-based IML Walking Association, considers walking
distance to be no more than 1,000 meters, or 0.62 miles. And
Jacklyn Wilson, executive director of the Universal City,
Texas-based American Volkssport Association, a network of walking
clubs, says for some of her members, “‘within walking distance’
needs to be no more than two city blocks -- and even then some will
complain!” Of course, in the rain, all bets are off.