Tag Archives: Walkscore

More help finding a bus-chick-friendly neighborhood

The folks at Walk Score have stepped up their game. Earlier this week, they released Transit Score (via: TCC’s tweeters), a similar tool that assesses a particular location’s access to transit. From what I can tell so far, Seattle’s transit scores are lower, across the board, than its walk scores. Or maybe I’m just saying that to make myself feel better; my walkable, bus-full neighborhood only scored in the 60s*. Sure, the service could be more frequent, but I ain’t complainin’–at least not right now. I’ll be happy if all of my routes stay off the chopping block.

Speaking of rating walkability and transit access…

I finally had occasion to use Estately. Yes, that’s right folks: We’re moving this weekend–five blocks from where we live now. (Too bad we don’t know enough bike nerds to help us do a Portland-style bike move.) But more on all that later. Besides spending lots of time packing, we’ll be in Internet limbo for a few days and focusing our attention on getting Chicklet and Busling settled in their new home. Posts will be infrequent** for the remainder of the month.

*According to Walkscore.com, a score in the 60’s = “good transit.”
**That is, less frequent than usual.

More about walkability

Now that's my kind of sidewalk. There's even a bench.Last week I posted a link to walkscore.com, a website that calculates the walkability of a given address based on the number of stores and other amenities within–you guessed it!–walking distance. It’s a cool site (and probably accurate in most cases), but I’m hoping it will eventually evolve to something a bit more sophisticated. The thing is, walkability is about a lot more than how many stores are in your neighborhood. For me, it’s about the safety, convenience, and general pleasantness of actually getting to them.

My house, for instance, scored an 86. I’d give it about a 75. (Note that Bus Nerd would strongly disagree with me on this. He thinks walking around here is perfectly fine.) Much as I love being so close to a library, two community centers, two parks, lots of schools, and six bus routes(!), I do not love the narrow sidewalks, speeding cars, and pedestrian-unfriendly street crossings. There are several stores nearby, but they are almost all in strip malls, and to actually get to any of them, you have to cross huge parking lots (full of speeding cars).

Not that any of that stops me. I love walking. I walk to church, to the grocery store, to the beauty shop, to the coffee shop, to the park, to the pool, to the video store, to the drug store, and–at least a couple of times a month–all the way downtown. Truth be told, I prefer walking to riding the bus. If the weather was always nice and I had all the time in the world, I’d walk everywhere I needed to go–well, within five or so miles. (Once, I talked Bus Nerd into walking all the way to Pier 55 to catch the Water Taxi, and then from Seacrest Park, where the Water Taxi dropped us off, all the way to the end of Alki to meet my brother for lunch. Oh yeah, and then back.)

But enough about me already. What do you think makes a neighborhood walkable?

How walkable is your neighborhood?

Several people sent me links to this site (thanks Robert, Elisa, and Jennifer!), and Alan Durning blogged about it: walkscore.com, a cool web tool that calculates the walkability of any address in the US.

What is Walk Score? 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.

My house (which is in the Central District) got an 86 out of 100. Not bad, though I might not score it quite so high. (The folks at walkscore.com haven’t tried to cross my very busy street without getting hit by a careless, speeding, light-running motorist.) My father-in-law, who still lives in Bus Nerd’s childhood home in Detroit, earned a decent score of 57. My best friend Laurie (mother of Zaky) got an abysmal 22. (At least they have free buses where she lives.) My brother Jeremy, the newly minted New Yorker is the hands-down winner with an impressive score of 98. (I wonder how you get 100?)

Your turn. What’s your walkability score?