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September 18, 2010 / Melissa Leeanne

Walkability and Downtown Living

Walkscore.com rates my location as having a walk score of 86, while the highest 10% for my city is 89% and the average is 35%.  I could probably rent a less expensive apartment if I lived further from the heart of downtown, but then I’d have to buy a car and insurance and gas – or take the bus.  But you don’t want to have to rely on the bus in this town.  I have horror stories and it runs somewhat infrequently.

I am unsure of the algorithm used to calculate the walk score, but I might rate my location higher than 86% by my own criteria for walkability and my expert knowledge of my neighborhood.

For example, while I may agree that The Sandpiper is the nearest restaurant and that the Heritage on 2nd is the nearest (best) coffee shop, the Silverbow is slightly closer and also serves coffee drinks.  I’ve never been to the J & J but I know it as the place where the high school kids get sandwiches at lunch, not as a real grocery.  I believe Capital Embroidery moved but was replaced by a better shopping option: a consignment shop.  Walkscore.com also lists no parks in my walk radius, but there is a park less than a tenth of a mile from my apartment.

I could go through the whole thing, but it would bore you.  What I mean to point out by posting this is that I am really happy with the walkability of my location and the lifestyle if affords me.  I do not own a car and, surprisingly, I do not own a bicycle.  I walk most everywhere I go and use the bus, on average, a dozen times a year at most.  I sometimes carpool with friends or borrow cars if there is a standing offer, but these trips involve visits to Costco or a pilgrimage to the Thai restaurant.  These are the things I appreciate, but what the greater public might appreciate about my lifestyle, beyond my minimal carbon footprint, is my great legs.

The real purpose of this post, though, is to share this tool.  If you had not previously been aware of this site and if you are planning to move somewhere and your preferred mode of transportation is your two feet, I recommend using this site as a tool to determine the walkability of your potential future home.

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