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Planning Walkable Communities

The City’s Pathways Vision Plan can be found in the 2010-2020 Comprehensive Plan Transportation Element.  This plan is a long range plan to build out a network of sidewalks, trails, and other pathways to connect the City’s lakes, parks and other recreational facilities, schools, and other community destinations.  The Pathways Vision Plan is the primary tool for planning a more walkable community. 

Walking Audit with Dan Burden

Dan Burden, from the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute (WALCI),
conducted a walking audit with members of the City Commission, City staff and other community leaders on November 8, 2013.  The WALC Institute helps communities envision built environments that are more walkable and livable. Institute team members work with municipalities, state governments, national advocacy groups, non-profit organizations, neighborhood associations, resident advocates, consulting firms and developers to retrofit existing streets or design new places that support active living and create a sense of community.  This walking audit assessed what the City is doing right and what it can do better to make Lakeland a prosperous, attractive and walkable city.  

View Dan's presentation on the elements that make a community walkable: 


Walking in Lakeland can be a fun and pleasant experience, but your safety comes first. 

The City’s Traffic Safety Team is responsible for overseeing concerns related to pedestrian safety on city right-of-ways.  Traffic Safety Team is made up of traffic engineers, traffic technicians, Lakeland Police Department, Florida Department of Transportation and Community Development staff.  If you have any concerns about dangerous intersections or roads you may report them to City officials on-line via the Citizen Action Center.

In addition to the City’s efforts to designing and retrofitting roads to be safer to walk, educating children and ensuring their safe to journey to school is a high priority.  These important tasks are carried out by the All Children’s Hospital - Safe Routes to School program and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office – School Crossing Unit.

All Children’s Hospital is the administrator of the federal Safe Routes to School program for Polk County Schools.  The Safe Routes to School coordinator works with public schools and the community at large in the Lakeland area to  encourages children and parents to walk or bicycle to school, map safe routes for travel, identify solutions to current traffic concerns, and increase enforcement of traffic laws.  Some of the activities that the Safe Routes to School coordinator carries out at participating schools are:

  • Provide Pedestrian and Bike Safety curriculum to teach children about walking and biking safely, and encouraging them to walk or bike often
  • Help organize "Walking school buses" in which one or two parents or volunteers escort a group of children on the walk to and from school
  • Help stage a "Bike Rodeo" skills course held at the school, providing a fun and safe environment to practice bicycle skills so that children can ride with confidence and experience
  • Assist in getting increased traffic enforcement around schools
  • Facilitate cooperation among school officials, law enforcement officials, and transportation planners
  • Provide Pedestrian and Bike Safety Education events at your school


The Polk County Sheriff’s Office School Crossing Unit assists and educates students in safe crossing at busy streets and highways as they travel to and from school.  When a crossing is deemed necessary a crossing guard is designed to the identified intersection ensure safe passage of children walking to school from school.  The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has administered the School Crossing Guard Program since the mid 1970’s and currently has 152 staffed crossings throughout the county. 

Check Out Our Videos On The Rules of the Road

Walking Opportunities

Lakeland’s jogging and walking paths
Walk Lakeland with Commissioner Merritt
Downtown Lakeland Walking Tour
Historic Lake Mirror Walking Tour
Frank Lloyd Wright Walking Tour at Florida Southern College


The Lake-to-Lake Greenway Connector
Ft. Fraser Trail
University Trail
Van Fleet State Trail
West Edgewood Drive Trail

Other Resources: