What is your Walk Score?

July 26, 2007 at 4:46 pm 2 comments

walkscore-logo.gif 

How walkable is your house? Find out with Walk Score, which quickly calculates  the walkability of an address by locating nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc. Walk Score looks at the following:

  • The distance to walkable locations near an address.
  • Calculating a score for each of these locations.
  • Combining these scores into one easy to read Walk Score.

Simply type in your address and it puts it on a Google map and gives it a score. 70 to 90 is very walkable; 90 to a hundred is a walker’s paradise. We live in a pretty walkable community and only scored a 65. I question how far they consider walkable, however, it is still a great tool to get people thinking about their community in a different way.

From Walk Score:

Why Walking Matters. Walkable neighborhoods offer surprising benefits to our health, the environment, and our communities.

  • Better health: A study in Washington State found that the average resident of a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood weighs 7 pounds less than someone who lives in a sprawling neighborhood. Residents of walkable neighborhoods drive less and suffer fewer car accidents, a leading cause of death between the ages of 15 – 45.
  • Reduction in greenhouse gas: Cars are a leading cause of global warming. Your feet are zero pollution transportation machines.
  • More transportation options: Compact neighborhoods tend to have higher population density, which leads to more public transportation options and bicycle infrastructure. Not only is taking the bus cheaper than driving, but riding a bus is ten times safer than driving a car!
  • Increased social capital: Walking increases social capital by promoting face-to-face interaction with your neighbors. Studies have shown that for each 10 minutes a person spends in a daily car commute, time spent in community activities falls by 10 percent.
  • Stronger local businesses: Dense, walkable neighborhoods provide local businesses with the foot traffic they need to thrive. It’s easier for pedestrians to shop at many stores on one trip, since they don’t need to drive between destinations.

What makes a neighborhood walkable? Walkable communities tend to have the following characteristics:

  • A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a discernable center, whether it’s a shopping district, a main street, or a public space.
  • Density: The neighborhood is compact, rather than spread out, which brings people closer to stores and jobs and makes public transportation more cost effective.
  • Mixed income, mixed use: Housing is provided for everyone who works in the neighborhood: young and old, singles and families, rich and poor. Businesses and residences are located near each other.
  • Parks and public space: There are plenty of public places to gather and play.
  • Accessibility: The neighborhood is accessible to everyone and has wheelchair access, plenty of benches with shade, sidewalks on all streets, etc.
  • Well connected, speed controlled streets: Streets form a connected grid that improves traffic by providing many routes to any destination. Streets are narrow to control speed, and shaded by trees to protect pedestrians.
  • Pedestrian-centric design: Buildings are placed close to the street to cater to foot traffic, with parking lots relegated to the back.
  • Close schools and workplaces: Schools and workplaces are close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.

What’s your walk score?

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Late Bloomer  |  July 28, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    What a neat means of measuring such a crucial part of sustainable living! It appears to be more geared to US residents though – my Vancouver neighbourhood (which I think is very walkable) came out at only a score of 54.
    In looking at some of the amenities the program took into consideration, it was clear that several things were overlooked. Our pubic schools weren’t anywhere to be seen on the map, for instance. Nor were some of the other grocery stores.
    That said, it gives a good basic indication and would be a wonderful tool for anyone looking to move into a new area.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • 2. Valentina  |  December 10, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    Walk score is a great service. With the help of it you can estimate your present location and see how walk able your neighborhood is. I have tried and my result is just 25. But how often do we walk nowadays? At http://drivescore.fizber.com/ I have found one more service very similar to this one. It is called Drive Score. With the help of it you can see how close establishments are by car. My drive score is 55.

    Reply

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I am passionate about reducing my impact on the environment and am learning to live simply and live green. I am learning the age old arts of home food preservation and cooking from scratch. This is yet another eco-blog and a place for me to really channel my passions for writing, photography and sustainable living.
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