I just stumbled upon a really cool website I thought I’d share called Walk Score. Using Google Maps, the site ranks how well one could live car-free in certain neighborhoods.
“With gas at $4 a gallon, there’s never been a better time to live in a walkable neighborhood,” the site reads. I couldn’t agree more – not to mention the obvious health benefits of walking rather than hopping in the car.
Simply type in your address to see your proximity to grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies, libraries, schools and other amenities. The map displays their position relative to your address, and lists the names of highlights along the side.
My neighborhood of Boston scored a “somewhat walkable” rating of 65. Personally, I think that’s a bit low: While I do own a car, I walk quite a bit to my neighborhood’s “downtown” area, about a mile away, where there are dozens of shops and restaurants, and my home is practically across the street from a subway station.
Walk Score even works for some international addresses! The address of the flat in London, England, in which I lived in a few years back, scored a “walker’s paradise” rating of 96. Considering I didn’t have a car and the Tube was pricey even back then (don’t even get me started on how much it costs now), I took full advantage of the nearby restaurants, post offices, museums and parks.
And you’ve got to appreciate Walk Score’s honesty. On it’s “How it doesn’t work” page, the creators acknowledge that their algorithm doesn’t take into account crime, topography, weather and other factors that might influence one’s decision to walk vs. drive.
And my esteemed colleague Zach Church over at SearchCIO-Midmarket.com points out that it would be nice if you could customize the site to rank according to the individual services you desire – maybe you don’t care about the closest school, but the more restaurants, the merrier.
How walkable is your neighborhood? How about your office? Now, when I need a break from SearchCIO.com, I want to take a noontime stroll to explore parks and businesses I didn’t even know existed.