Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What is your "Walkscore"?

The following story was posted by Jessica Buhler, Planet Southie's Walk Action Team leader.

Neighborhoods with great "walkability" are better for your health, the environment, and the economy. I recently discovered a website, Walkscore.com, where you can type in a street address or walking route to find out how a particular area scores in regards to access to shops, parks, and transit (indicators of good walkability). 

Cars block sidewalk on East 4th Street
My address in South Boston scored an 80 (out of 100), primarily because the site noted that most errands can be accomplished on foot.  The site allows you to agree or disagree with their score and add in pictures and descriptions of items that may improve the score of the area.

Block length and number of intersections are considered when determining the score. However, whether or not there are safe and accessible sidewalks and crosswalks, if the weather is conducive for walking, and crime levels are not factored into the score.

Including that information would make the score more accurate. For instance, my area is very close to a grocery store and pharmacy (great for walkability). However, because the stores have huge parking lots with no buffers, the cars often park onto the sidewalk and become high car traffic areas that make it less safe and enjoyable for walkers.
Check out your score on walkscore.com and let us know if you agree or disagree.

For more reading, check out an article about planner, architect and author Jeff Speck's book "Walkable City" and his 10-step approach to create walkable urban areas. 

Learn more about better walking, biking, transit and more at the next Planet Southie meeting:

Thursday, February 28th  6:30 - 7:30 pm
The Distillery Building
516 East Second Street, South Boston

(All are welcome and encouraged to attend)


  1. Well said. South Boston is so convenient for walkers yet the conflicts with vehicles grows problematic as build out proceeds- garage doors opening directly onto sidewalks without set backs..intersections that continue to boggle the mind like the post office at Emerson and Third. Solutions seem obvious but take years to enact. A new perspective is welcome!


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