Using the website Walk Score, Chicago, I found Chicago is the 6th most walkable large city in the US with 2,695,598 residents. Chicago’s walk score is 75 out of 100 points – a very walkable place. Individual neighborhoods have walk scores also, for instance my neighborhood – Edison Park rated a 65 for somewhat walkable.
What is a walk score? A walk score measures the “walkability” or the “walk friendliness” of a neighborhood. How nice. Think about your neighborhood…are people out and about? Do they mill and congregate in conversation? Are they populating the parks and shopping centers? Do people feel safe walking at night?
The Walk Score Company measures some key factors in neighborhoods. They then use this data to calculate the Walk Score of an area or address. Here are some of the factors they measure –
- Walkable access to parks, recreation and places where people can meet and play.
- Available and regular public transportation.
- An established “city center” where residents can walk to local restaurants, coffee shops, entertainment, services & shopping.
- A local population that is sufficient to sustain such businesses.
- Schools and jobs within walking distance.
- An infrastructure that includes paved streets and walkways for pedestrians and public transit.
- Levels of mixed income & mixed use—affordable housing near businesses.
Once they decide upon a score, the following chart interprets the score:
Daily errands do not require a car
Most errands can be accomplished on foot
Some errands can be accomplished on foot
Most errands require a car
Almost all errands require a car
Here are just a few reasons why high Walk Score areas are gaining in popularity:
- Fewer cars mean fewer harmful emissions, less congestion & fewer parking hassles.
- Walking is not only great for our health, but creates zero pollution.
- Having nearby restaurants, services and shopping save us time and provide great social environments.
- Being closer to the workplace saves both time and money.
- Local parks and community space within walking distance encourage us to play more and provide great outdoor space for children and pets.
- It has been suggested that a high walk score contributes to the value of a property — a nice benefit for owning a property with a high Walk Score address.
What is your neighborhood’s walk score?