Monday, June 16, 2008

How Walkable is your Neighborhood?

This week I discovered a cool website that rates your neighborhood for how “walkable” it is. Living in a walkable neighborhood has been our goal since we started to look for our project house over a year ago. Why? Because we love the idea of walking to get groceries or a book or a beer. We want to be an area that allows us to live without total dependence on a car- not only for ourselves, but also our parents should they come live with us someday.

The Highland Village area of St. Paul has a great collection of shopping and resources- from Punch Pizza (best pizza in MN, besides Kevin’s),Lunds grocery store, Brueggers, Half Price Books, Patina, library, parks and the Mississippi River and more. We are lucky to be only 1 block from some of these shops and walking distance to most of these places is only ¼ mile. Very walkable indeed.

So I when I came across the website Walk Score, I was interested in how our neighborhood stacked up. The system is based on Google information for the following resources and the distance from your address:
Grocery
Restaurants
Coffee shops
Bars
Movie theaters
Schools
Parks
Libraries
Bookstores
Fitness
Drug stores
Hardware stores
Clothing & music

Apparently, they don’t know about our neighborhood bars, because WalkScore lists the closest bar at about 1.4 miles, instead of the ¼ mile it really is to Chatterbox and Tiffany’s from our house. This, it seems is the only reason our neighborhood scores 75 out of 100. (rated “very walkable”) Apparently bars are weighted quite heavily in the equation.

One other problem with the rating is that it lists a home office for a brick sales person as a hardware store. I wish we had a hardware store within walking distance- but that is the one thing that is really not close. Maybe when the Ford plant is redeveloped we can push for a hardware store as one of the retail components. Until then, we’ll be driving the Prius to Ace.

2 comments:

SmilingJudy said...

Cool! I got a 75 also. Maybe they're stuck on that number. :)

I think they should add post office to the calculation. Maybe that would bump me up.

Kevin said...

Hi, I'm the founder of Metroseeq.com, I just launched it as a variation of walkscore but focus on local deals. It offers a different way of searching - predominantly using Google Maps. I'd appreciate it if you can check it out and give me some feedback. Thanks a bunch!