Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What's Your Walk Score?

"Walkability" is the new buzz word in real estate, but how do you measure a neighborhood's walkability? A great new website, WalkScore.com, helps you determine just how walkable a neighborhood really is, but how does it define walkability? From the "How It Works" section of the web site:

Walk Score helps people find walkable places to live. Walk Score calculates the walkability of an address by locating nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc. Walk Score measures how easy it is to live a car-lite lifestyle—not how pretty the area is for walking.

Public transits options, street width and block length, street design, safety from crime, and weather are just a few of the factors not included in Walk Score's calculations. Nearby amenities such as grocery stores, cafe, schools, churches, libraries, etc., are the only factors, with amenities closer than a 1/4 mile receiving the maximum number of points, fewer points awarded for those between 1/4 and 1 mile, and no points for those farther away than a mile. Type in an address, watch the site tally a home's walk score, and see if the home is a "Walker's Paradise," "Very Walkable," "Somewhat Walkable," "Car-Dependent," or "Car-Dependent (Driving Only)." The site operates on the assumption that the greater a home's Walk Score (that is, the greater the number of amenities within a mile radius of that home), the more inclined a person is to walk (thus leading a more active lifestyle), and the more desirable that home will be to potential buyers.

Here are my Walk Scores:

I grew up in a neighborhood in Northwest Oklahoma City called
The Village, a name that might suggest pedestrian heaven; in reality, it wasn't so divine, but it wasn't so bad either. A decent Walk Score of 54. There was a square nearby, with a library and grocery store and even a Church's Fried Chicken and my school.

My first off-campus apartment in tiny Lexington, VA, had a slightly improved score of 60. Of course, I drove everywhere.

After college, I lived in two different apartments in Cincinnati, OH: one in a hillside area called Mt. Adams o
verlooking downtown and the Ohio River and distinguished by ornately painted Victorian homes. People called it "The San Francisco of Cincinnati." It had a Very Walkable score of 83. The second was in the much more urban neighborhood of Mt. Auburn, which also sat on a hill overlooking downtown and had a Very Walkable score of 86; the difference was this apartment was owned by an eccentric art collector who kept a Picasso and a Pollack hanging in the upstairs unit. Too bad I had a 40-minute commute by car to work.

Then I sold my car and moved to Boston, which bills itself as "America's Walking City." My first apartment, near Berklee College, was a Walker's Paradise at 100. My second apartment, just down the road on the border of South End and Roxbury, and three doors down from a funeral home, was a real downer by comparison: it had a 97. I next lived in a Cambridge home that had a 92 and then a Somerville apartment with a score of 89. My current pad, in Jamaica Plain, has a score of 91. My god, have I really lived in five apartments since 2002? Yes, and the lowest one with a Walk Score of 89! Boston has spoiled me. Thank goodness for that. We have a car now, but we only seem to use it on the weekends.

So, readers, if you exist, if you care, I'm curious to know what your Walk Score is. Do me a favor and visit WalkScore.com, type in your address, and then leave a comment here at Oklachusetts saying where you live (no addresses, just the general area) and what your Walk Score is. And if walkability is as big a deal to you as it is to me, then take few minutes to sign this petition to tell Congress to support walking, biking, and public transportation in the 2009 Transportation Bill.


Emily said...

My MA childhood home WalkScore is a pathetic...wait for it...2! My college apartments' scores are respectable: 78 and 88. The apartment I lived in when we met...85. Other addresses have completely evaporated from my memory...

keira said...

Our Somerville home has a respectable 89.
The old JP house has an 85--they must know about the hill...

My childhood home on Long Island is also an 85. Not bad at all.

Dan's home in CT is a measly 38--but what do you expect from a town that has no sidewalks?

MJ said...

Childhood home in Phoenix AZ = 40.

Residence of record in Boston (Coolidge Corner) = 86 (thought that one would do better!)

Apartment in Portland after Boston = 94 (however, such an expensive neighborhood, little shopping could actually be done in walking distance)

Home purchased in Portland = 60 (seems low...we walk to mini-mart, bars, restaurants, and beautiful park, light rail less than a mile and a half away!)

MLE said...

My walk score in Heritage Hills in Oklahoma City is 74. When I lived in DC, it was a 91. At Bucknell in Lewisburg, PA, it was a 75.

Lizzie said...

Our current score in our OKC Crown Heights home is 60(surprisingly low for all the nearby goodies).

My highest score was in DC, near Eastern Market = 85

Middle of the road score in Alexandria, VA = 68

Lowest score was in Sewanee, TN and Tulsa, OK = 48

I lived in Ketchum, OK (on Grand Lake) one summer, and although that house doesn't formally have an address I suspect the score would have registered in the single digits.

Anonymous said...

0. I just got a 0 for my childhood home in the woods of Wisconsin. When you have to go a half-hour drive to see a stop light, this is what you get.

Currently, 89 in Somerville- woowhoooo! Who's a city girl now?!?

natalie said...

you guys need to find a house on campus in norman. our address scored an 89! i walk to work everyday and jon and i bought each other bikes for our first anniversary this year.

gary and diane's current house scored a 45, while our old house on britton road got a TWO!!


Chad Reynolds said...


A TWO for the house on Britton Road? What surprises me is that it wasn't a zero. I want to know what was nearby to make it a two! But you did have wide open spaces and pastures...that ought to count for something. That's great about you and Jon getting each other bikes. Do you ride to work each day? And is Norman really as progressive as I keep hearing? Does it still have that great cheese shop? Congrats on your first anniversary, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Ok did a survey of some of your nearest and dearest but only where they live now
FG#1 68
FG#2 2
JBR 28
DRB 72
RJP 100
First 4 OKC, #5 nyc
Just come back to Okc..the rest will figure itself out..xxoo fg

CGHill said...

Seventy-one in my near-northwest OKC neck o' the woods.