Walk on the Wild Side

Via The Salt-Box and Digital Digs, here’s Walk Score a cool little Google mashup that calculates the walkability of your place of residence “by locating nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc.” I scored a 25, not very walkable, which was better than Alex and slightly worse than JBJ, but like JBJ, I’m not sure my score matches my experiences.

In my case, I think the 25 is actually too high. I walk as much as possible, but as I mentioned in my comment at The Salt-Box, while there are a few businesses nearby, there are no sidewalks, and cars routinely go 55-60 mph on the highway in front of my complex. If I wanted to go to a business across the street, I’d feel like I was taking my life in my hands. And the “grocery store” they list as closest to my apartment is actually a convenience store, which would be fine if I ate nothing but snack food and liked lousy beer. They also lump clothing and music stores together, with the closest listed store being a Payless Shoe Store I’ve never noticed before. Not that it doesn’t exist; there are so many signs in Fayetteville that they sort of blur together in a single, somewhat shabby blur of advertising and visual noise.

That being said, it’s a cool tool for mapping the livability of a given location is pretty cool. If I had used this tool when planning my move to Fayetteville, I probably would have made more of an effort to find someplace here that’s even a little more walkable.

Side note: my apartment in Hyattsville, MD, scores a 55, which seems a bit low, especially given the access to public transportation that I had. My apartment in Decatur, GA scores a 52, which sounds about right, but also shows the limits of the tool. I happily went without a car during my year in DC, but that would have been practically impossible where I lived in Atlanta.

Another update: My apartment in Champaign, IL, scored a 95, which seems reasonable enough.  I could have easily lived there without a car, and more or less did (my car was about twenty years old), except for the fact that most of the chain movie theaters were about seven or eight miles away.

2 Comments »

  1. michael Said,

    July 26, 2007 @ 1:42 pm

    My house is very walkable, 88 on the walk score. We moved here mainly because it was walkable. But the walk score is wrong about lots of the businesses nearby. It lists a grocery store that closed four years ago but not two other ones on the same street, and it gives points for a hardware store that is actually a paint store. I wish we did have a hardware store I could walk to. Still, it’s a really useful thing to know about when planning a trip or a move.

  2. Chuck Said,

    July 26, 2007 @ 5:18 pm

    Yes, there were several businesses that the map missed for me, too. When I moved here, one of the factors I considered was walkability, so I have no idea why I wound up with such a car-dependent apartment.

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