Monday, March 3, 2008

What Is Your Neighborhood's Walk Score?














With the price of gas above $3 a gallon, people are starting to think about living and working in a walkable neighborhood.

Over the past 50 years, with low gas prices and abundant undeveloped land, our neighborhoods have increasingly become unwalkable. We fell in love with the car, and in the process, we may have lost our way.

Unwalkable neighborhoods have given us traffic jams, increased rates of obesity, and have disconnected us from a sense of "community."

On the other hand, walkable communities promote good health, convenience, rich cultural interaction, multiple transportation options, and economic advantages for individuals and the business community.

Over the next few days we will explore different facets of neighborhoods, why they respond to the human condition, and why unwalkable neighborhoods do not. We will also entertain suggestions and list resources that help bring about a more walkable built environment.

But today, here is a fun site – walkscore.com - where you can get a sense of the walkability of your neighborhood. Enter your address, and this site generates a number between 0 and 100 depending on proximity to various essential destinations like schools, grocery stores, parks, restaurants, etc. It also maps out the location of those services.

What this site does not indicate is how well the area is planned for pedestrians - whether there are sidewalks or crosswalks or not, for example.

Walkscore.com classifies the rating system as such:



90 - 100 = Walkers' Paradise: Most errands can be accomplished on foot and many people get by without owning a car.


70 - 90 = Very Walkable: It's possible to get by without owning a car.


50 - 70 = Some Walkable Locations: Some stores and amenities are within walking distance, but many everyday trips still require a bike, public transportation, or car.


25 - 50 = Not Walkable: Only a few destinations are within easy walking range. For most errands, driving or public transportation is a must.


0 - 25 = Driving Only: Virtually no neighborhood destinations within walking range. You can walk from your house to your car!





Type in your address or find out how other neighborhoods ranks:

http://walkscore.com/

My home - in a neighborhood near the University of Southern Mississippi and a block from the main east-west thoroughfare in town – is 60. No mention of the mad dash across the highway to get to the university just 5 blocks away or the sprint across Hardy Street to get to the grocery store. Very few pedestrian crosswalks or overpasses exist in the middle if this, the most densely populated area within a 60 mile radius, but I’ll talk about that later on in the week. My office in downtown Hattiesburg comes in at 92.

What is your neighborhood's walk score? Post a comment and let us know how your neighborhood rates.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Pennsylvania Housing Research Center recently published a set of standards for residential infrastructure design "Pennsyvnai Standrds for Residential Site Development" . Chapter 3 Pedestrian and Bicycle Circulation may be of particular interest to this audience. A sample of the chapter is downloadable at http://www.engr.psu.edu/phrc/Standard%20Samples/SAmple%20Pages%20from%20chapter%203.pdf
A free password to download the entire chapter is available at: http://www.engr.psu.edu/phrc/Obtain%20Password%20page.htm
- Alex Duran, Land Use and Development Specialist, Pennsylvania Housing Research Center

C Robb said...

We have $8/gallon petrol prices here in Sheffield UK and still our roads are packed with cars. It is though a mostly walkable city. My neighborhood scored a very walkable 78. Here is an organization working on making cities more walkable in the UK.
http://www.livingstreets.org.uk/

cheers
Robb Worthington
http://sustliving.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

I am an above knee amputee (as of 1955) and the proud owner of an artificial knee joint on the other side (as of 2002). I am at an Orthopaedic conference in San Francisco, and have been zooming around the city on my Segway with great facility. The Segway proves to be a truly satisfactory way to keep me out of a car or taxi, and make the entire down-town accessible. Uphills drain the battery some, but downhills recharge it. I've been able to get from the Moscone Convention center to the hotel two blocks above Union Square with 75% of my battery power intact.

Alexandr said...

I believe that walk score is cool, but nowadays more and more people prefer to drive cars. Homes are often located in an area where some establishments are easier to get to by car than on foot. I've recently found a type of service on drive score which is called Drive Score. It shows a map of what establishments are in your neighborhood and calculates a Drive Score based on the number of places within a convenient driving distance. It doesn’t mean that drive score is better than walk score – they are equal and both necessary in the modern world!

Kantor said...

thank you for an interesting post, I suggest to try StreetView on the website of Fizber to explore city neighborhoods. It feels as if you're walking down the street!

Rosa L. said...

thank you, i just tried StreetView on the website of Fizber, it is absolutely great!!