Thursday, January 13, 2011

Do you know your "walk score?"

Part of the effort to reduce greenhouse gases and improve our quality of life is related to how easily we can get to work, shops, and recreation without overusing our automobiles. The Smart Growth movement emphasizes clustering housing with retail and commercial locations, especially around areas that have transit options for longer distance travel (outside of the neighborhood). There is a website, albeit very limited in its algorithms, that helps prospective buyers and renters know if their new home is within walking distance of multiple amenities. Go to and plug in any address. It reveals a map showing the amenities nearby and applies a score to the location. 100 is best, 0 means you live on the moon. Unfortunately, it will not rate how "bikable" the location is, since many homes have great resources in biking distance, whereas the walking distance is very limited. There appears to be a bike forum on the walkscore site, so, perhaps there will be some enhancements in this direction. Walkscore also gives transit ratings for locations.