Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Tale of Two Walk Scores

As I mentioned last time, I was just forced to move back to suburbia. As I expected, my walk score took a hit.

In my old neighborhood it was 97/100, or "walker's paradise" because of the amount and variety of nearby destinations. Now it's been downgraded to 62/100 in the "somewhat walkable" range. I'm lucky it didn't fall more. I happen to be close to a couple of strip malls. A lot of people in my neighborhood aren't so lucky.

I just want to make it perfectly clear what's going on. Retail businesses need a certain number of customers to survive. In suburbia, the number of people within a comfortable walking radius of a given business is lower than it would be in a city, which is part of the reason why there are fewer businesses, if any, near any given suburban house and the businesses rely more on parking lots to attract customers.

What does it all mean? It's harder to walk to things here, and when you do walk to things, you have to walk farther to get to less. Not a great way to encourage walking.

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