What’s Your Walk Score?

Right after I wrote my post about walking everywhere with a baby, we moved to a different neighborhood in Portland.  One of my big concerns with my new neighborhood is that it would not be as pedestrian-friendly as my old one.  It would be hard to live the carefree green lifestyle of my dreams if I had to drive a car everywhere.  Although my job is miles away (necessitating a bus ride), I was able to run most household errands by foot in my old neighborhood.

According to www.walkscore.com, the walk score of my old and new neighborhoods is exactly the same: 88 out of 100, or “very walkable.”  Just plug your address into this website and you’ll get a walk score of your very own.  The site will show you the grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, movie theaters, schools, parks, and other places that are within walking distance of your address.  The algorithm is not perfect–it does not take into account some things like your proximity to public transport or the “pedestrian-friendly design” of your neighborhood.

“Pedestrian-friendly design” is what my new neighborhood seems to be lacking.  From my old digs, I could stroll through a pleasant residential neighborhood or along a trendy street lined with coffee shops and bookstores to get to a major grocery store.  Today I ventured out to the Fred Meyer that’s just .68 miles from my new house.  Walking along a major street, I passed a car dealership, a bar, a “fantasy” shop, a men’s bathhouse, a “hot barber” shop, and a thrift store run by wayward teens.  Now, these are all very interesting establishments, I am sure, but not ones I am likely to frequent with a young child in tow (except for the thrift store, of course).  I then had walk on a highway overpass to get to the store.

On the plus side, that was just one grocery store.  I can walk to several others, taking less adventurous routes.  We can also take peaceful walks to the park, the doctor,  and Audrey’s future elementary school.  The best benefit of our new location is that we’re near at least five major bus lines and just seven minutes away from the Max (a light rail system that goes downtown, out into the suburbs, and directly to the airport).

What’s your walk score?  Visit www.walkscore.com and find out!

Comments

  1. That was interesting. My neighborhood got a score of 72. I agree that I think their formula of just using distances is too simple though. I have to cross a few dangerous intersections to get to some of the places which makes it harder with kids. BUT, I am also near 2 very major bus lines which run all the time.

  2. My walk score is 45… I was rather upset with it. And I was surprised to know that there is another score called drive score to evaluate my house.
    I found the way to calculate it online at Fizber site (http://drivescore.fizber.com/ ). I’ve got much better results – 51.

  3. Hey, Rebecca, just found your website again and glad to see you brought attention to the Walkscore site. In December, we moved from a neighborhood with a walkscore of 69 to one that’s got a score of 92. It’s completely changed our lives to be able to bike and walk everywhere. I was almost giddy last week to be able to walk home from the dentist–and to stop and poke around at some thrift shops and gift shops on the way home.

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