OK, OK, so first I go all Potter crazy and then I just go AWOL. I’m sorry. I’ve been reveling in a month long visit from my best friend from college for the entire month of September and its made blogging feel like a lower-than-average priority in my life. I’ll be back I promise. Meanwhile here’s a neat concept I came across today: Neighborhood Walk-ability Ratings. This is a website which tallies up a bunch of different factors (now available through web mapping) about your location and rates it with an overall “Walk Score.” To find out yours, click here.
When I did I was a little surprised to find that my address scored a 91 (out of 100) and was designated a “walker’s paradise.” I don’t know why I should have been because I do consider my home to be eminently walkable and use it that way – I love being two blocks from the library, four from the coop and eight from my favorite coffee shop and I really use my car primarily to get to work or to leave town. I’ve also been totally proud to share my neighborhood with Roshni, although she’s come most recently from the theoretical walkers paradises of Seattle and Boston. In any case … yay for La Crosse.
In addition to just scoring addresses the walkscore.com really breaks down their methodology and also talks more generally about the principles which make up a walkable neighborhood.
Here is their list of walkable factors from the website:
- A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a center, whether it’s a main street or a public space.
- People: Enough people for businesses to flourish and for public transit to run frequently.
- Mixed income, mixed use: Affordable housing located near businesses.
- Parks and public space: Plenty of public places to gather and play.
- Pedestrian design: Buildings are close to the street, parking lots are relegated to the back.
- Schools and workplaces: Close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.
- Complete streets: Streets designed for bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit.
I also thought it was delightful that this image – (the “good” example on the left) is of my aunt’s neighborhood in Seattle.