What’s your Walk Score?

Via Digital Digs, here’s Walk Score, an interesting Google Maps mash-up that “calculates the walkability of an address by locating nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc.”

Our house scored a 28, or Not Walkable.

Which is funny, because we in fact walk everywhere (except the grocery store, but that’s usually because we have the 4 year old in tow).  In particular we walk to work, which for both of us is the fair-sized university  about three or four blocks from home, and which doesn’t show up at all on the Walk Score results.  So while the neighborhood might not be extraordinarily walkable in general, we actually bought the house in order to walk.

Their algorithm is a little peculiar: It sees the campus bookstore as the closest bookstore, but it doesn’t see the campus library.  It also misses the bar right across the street from campus, but it counts the local head shop, Snotlocker, as a “clothing store.”  I don’t think it distinguishes “movie theater” from “theater for plays,” and, again, for both it omits campus as a venue for these.

(I think this is a general problem with the way they harvest data–when I plug in my first address from graduate school, freely available campus resources don’t show up.  As a result, it gets a mediocre walk score, when in fact I lived without a car for three years.)

Those caveats aside, it’s an interesting project–focusing attention on the practical realities of getting around is a good idea.

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