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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6 Responses to What’s your Walk Score?

  1. professor.elliott says:

    I agree: A good idea, but off. The Coventry Rd. house — where we could walk to everything — scored only a 35. I think one problem is that it defines “walkable” as being closer than people can actually walk.

    On the other hand, _my_ old graduate apt. on 112th St. scored a perfect 100. Sigh.

  2. Chuck says:

    I’m curious to test my location, which is not that walkable (it’s down right now). There are a few businesses–a restaurant, a cafe, etc–but no sidewalks. Cars routinely go 55-60 mph on the road just outside my complex, so if there was a business across that street, it might as well be 5-10 miles away.

    But that’s what I like least about Fayetteville in general–it’s terrible for pedestrians, worse by far than any place I ever lived in Atlanta, much less DC.

  3. Chuck says:

    Just checked back. My corner of Fayetteville got a 25, which seems generous. They’re counting a convenience store as a grocery store, and as far as I know, the cafe they list no longer exists, although there is a closer one that just opened. Weird tool.

  4. Frothy McBaldman says:

    My burg scored a 12, which is why I own a helicopter. When the zombie apocalypse comes, however, I’ll be laughing all the way to the bunker.

  5. Tom says:

    No suprises that out here in the hinterlands of Bristol, I scored an 11. It missed a quick mart at the edge of my neighborhood but I think it misses stores if you are near a town line.

    For comparison, I put in the address of the hotel where we stayed on Van Ness Ave., in San Francisco. That scored an 83.

  6. Wella says:

    I believe that walk score is cool, but nowadays more and more people prefer to drive cars. Homes are often located in an area where some establishments are easier to get to by car than on foot. I’ve recently found a type of service on drivescore.fizber.com which is called Drive Score. It shows a map of what establishments are in your neighborhood and calculates a Drive Score based on the number of places within a convenient driving distance. It doesn’t mean that drive score is better than walk score – they are equal and both necessary in the modern world!

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