Applying Walk Score: More Than Good Real Estate Choices-Part I
What’s Your Walk Score?
As many of you have done before, when you plug an address into the Walk Score website, the generated score is a number between 0-100 and that represents the walkability and transportation options of that location. The score is based on the walking distances to universally appreciated amenities like grocery stores, libraries, banks, restaurants, parks and so forth. In addition, destinations more commonly associated with walking trips are given more weight and the algorithm takes into account the infrastructure available–sure, that pharmacy might be across the street, but is the street-crossing at a 5-lane intersection and thus, not comfortable for many people.
The break down of Walk Score’s rankings look like this:
Applying It Locally
What’s Your Walk Score? Mine is 66, or “Somewhat Walkable. A year ago it was 77 -“Very Walkable” (MyWHaT), but since then (WSJ) the algorithm tinkering has improved after more input of improved local data. Traverse City’s average is 70-the low-end of “Very Walkable” with the center of the city (9th and Cass St. intersection) receiving an 88, or the high-end of “Very Walkable.”
The City is doing good, as expected for a small tourist town of 14,000. It should come as no surprise to anyone who reads this blog, I believe we could do better-why aren’t we a Walker’s Paradise? Some of our corner edges are likely to remain “Car-Dependent”, but there is no reason we shouldn’t see the scores in neighborhoods within the grid improve. And, as studies continue to suggest (Big City), investing in the walkability of a neighborhood through simple measures like sidewalks on both sides of the street, improved greenways with trees and other plants, and human scaled lighting can add $30,000 to $50,000 in value to those properties.
Throw your address into the website, how do you score?
On the map below, I’ve plotted a selection of Walk Scores associated with special addresses within the city limits. Can you guess who lives at these addresses?
Your two hints: there are seven of them and four of them could be replaced this November. The answer will be in Part II later this morning.
Who Lives Here?
NOTE: Since Walk Score launched in 2007, it has continued to improve its system of ranking the walkability of any given address. It has also started to attract more media attention and is increasingly being used by real estate agents to market the walkability of properties. If you are a Michigan based real estate agent using or interested in using Walk Score I’d be interested in hearing from you (send me message).