Richard Seitz's remarks in last Friday's "Your Turn," about Helena's walkability, are useful because he mentions specific places he walks. Policy makers must be told where we enjoy walking, where we don't, and why.
I enjoy old neighborhoods built on a grid street plan. Each of those crisscross intersections is another opportunity to change direction as I seek the most enjoyable walk between any two points on the grid. The more intersections, the better.
Those grids, parks, old Downtown, Great Northern Town Center, Carroll campus, etc. are walkable "islands." I enjoy walkways which connect those islands. Two I use often are the LeGrande Cannon walkway and the Lyndale underpass.
LeGrande isn't isn't the shortest walk between my West Hauser front porch and Downtown, but it's fun and it gets me past an extensive district that lacks sidewalks. On LeGrand I avoid the noise and teeming bulk of vehicular traffic, I've got a great view of the Big Belt and the chinook arch, and I've got several Mount Helena trailheads. It's a civilized bit of infrastructure.
So is the Lyndale underpass -- the one place in town to cross the Highway 12 corridor without having to deal with four or more lanes of highway traffic, ideally situated to connect several of those islands.
It's worth emphasizing that both the LeGrande walkway and the Lyndale underpass are heavily used by pedestrians. No less than the grids and our old pedestrian-permeable south edge-of-town, they're object lessons in walkable urban design.