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Google Offers Walking Directions

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Driving or Walking from the streets of Santa Monica to the Beach

Yesterday, Google introduced a new Google Maps feature: directions when on foot. "Starting today, you can tell Google Maps that you want walking directions, and we'll try to find you a route that's direct, flat, and uses pedestrian pathways when we know about them," explained Andy Schwerin, Software Engineer, on Google's blog dedicated to maps. "Just get directions as you normally would. If you're going 10 km or less (some call this 6.2 miles), we'll show you a link that you can click to get 'Walking' directions."

This feature is especially helpful when in places like Downtown where driving directions will take you down one-way street routes. However, as Schwerin noted, they don't always know about pedestrian only paths. "There are still a lot of pedestrian pathways we don't know about, and they might save you some time if you find them. We're working on collecting new data on pedestrian pathways and on more effective ways to solicit your feedback," he wrote.

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A quick check around the Los Angeles area and we found that yes, indeed, many well known pedestrian paths are still not mapped for directions (the above map of the pedestrian bridge in Santa Monica does work, however). When near the Baxter Street Stairs in Echo Park, the Fourth Street Steps in Santa Monica or the Hollywoodland Staircases (see a detailed map and LAist report here on them), Google has not registered those in their new walking directions yet.