When Pierre L'Enfant created the design for Washington, D.C.'s city layout in 1791, it was seen as the model for the development of future American cities. Who would have thought that more than 200 years later Washington, D.C., would still be considered a national model of walkable urban growth? Today D.C. has one walkable place for every 264,000 people -- per capita, that's better than New York City. It also earns a 70 from Walk Score [source: MSNBC and Walk Score].
As part of L'Enfant's city plan, D.C.'s streets are laid out diagonally across a grid system. This may sound cumbersome, but the result is shorter walking distances between points and potential for green space (in the form of triangular parks) at the street intersections. If the sidewalks can't get you where you want to go, the D.C. metro area also has hundreds of miles of pedestrian and bike paths and a widely used public transportation system -- in fact, at 37.7 percent usage, D.C. is a leader in public transportation, second to New York [source: Christie].