Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How Walkable is Your Neighbourhood?

Yesterday, I stumbled upon a website that uses your address and calculates how walkable your neighbourhood is based on (surprise!) how often you would need a car for basic amenities. The score ranges from 100 (very walkable) to 0 (car dependent). Chances are you already know a bit how walkable your neighbourhood is so there probably won't be any real surprises here, but it's cool to see how your high or low your address scores. Even just for bragging rights.

My new apartment on the corner of Bloor and Spadina in downtown Toronto scores a 98%, leaving me with one of the highest. I'm not surprised by this score at all considering that to do most of my shopping I don't even need to cross a street and there is a subway entrance practically in my back alleyway that connects to two lines. Basically, it's the most convenient place I've ever lived, with the only negative being that I now view walking 2 blocks to get something as 'far away'.

My old place in Vancouver near East 8th and Grandview highway, gets a pretty good score of 89%, while my childhood home in White Rock, BC gets a resoundingly car-dependent 45% (something I knew all to well while growing up). This is a bit lower than the average score, which is a pretty deplorable 49%. Although, it would be interesting to see how much that average score changes if you only looked at urban areas or only at suburban.

Since I don't own a car and haven't driven since I was 18 years old, how easy a place is to walk, bike or use transit is pretty high on my list when looking for new digs. This website should help those that are planning to move and want to know how convenient the location is.

Here's a list, according to of what makes a neighbourhood walkable:

  • A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a center, whether it's a main street or a public space.
  • People: Enough people for businesses to flourish and for public transit to run frequently.
  • Mixed income, mixed use: Affordable housing located near businesses.
  • Parks and public space: Plenty of public places to gather and play.
  • Pedestrian design: Buildings are close to the street, parking lots are relegated to the back.
  • Schools and workplaces: Close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.
  • Complete streets: Streets designed for bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit.

1 comment:

  1. depends on where you live in WR bro. I typed in my current address -which is actually located IN WR whereas our childhood home was on the cusp of King George, and technically Surrey. My walking score was 77. I have no car (duh) and find my place unbelievable convenient and close to all amenities i need for me and the fam. I can walk pretty much anywhere. But then again, I consider anything under an hour walk, walking distance. So I may be the exception. Sweet App find! Super interesting!