7.31.2007

Walk (and) Score

When I visited my family in southwest Michigan a few weeks ago, the first thing I noticed was the twangy, excruciatingly-long-A accent. The second thing I noticed: Everybody was fat, and, despite the fact that my hometown spans a maximum of about two miles, the lanky members of the high school cross-country team were the only residents using the sidewalks.

That’s a shame. The average resident of a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood weighs 7 pounds less than someone who lives in a sprawling subdivision, according to one study done in Washington. And walking of course cuts down on driving, and thus car accidents and carbon emissions.

So just how walk-able is your neighborhood? I just found a fabulous site, www.walkscore.com, that will rate it based on its proximity to nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc. (Unfortuantely, it doesn’t take into consideration other factors that make walking more attractive, such as the width of the streets, crime stats, topography, or public transit.)

My old haunt in southwest Michigan: 49/100

My current Greek ‘hood in Queens: 95/100 (Score!)

13 comments:

talesfromthebean said...

Interesting post, I just wrote about the walk score the other day. :) I would love it if the application allowed one to put in locations that were specific to the individual. Example: putting in my work location, or the grocery store I shop at, the restaurants I prefer, etc. The concept is great, though.

Dasha said...

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 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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