"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> urbanMamas

C'mon, what's your score?

Many of us urbanMamas and urbanPapas value efficient living, where we can have affordable housing close to transit hubs, schools, supermarkets, and other amenities.  Portland is already known for its award-winning transit system.  For a neat new tool give you a rough rating of the walkability of your neighborhood, check out WalkScore.com.  What's your score?

The website offers great information on the benefits of walking:

Why Walking Matters
Walkable neighborhoods offer surprising benefits to our health, the environment, and our communities.

Better health: A study in Washington State found that the average resident of a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood weighs 7 pounds less than someone who lives in a sprawling neighborhood1. Residents of walkable neighborhoods drive less and suffer fewer car accidents, a leading cause of death between the ages of 15 - 45.

Reduction in greenhouse gas: Cars are a leading cause of global warming. Your feet are zero pollution transportation machines.

More transportation options: Compact neighborhoods tend to have higher population density, which leads to more public transportation options and bicycle infrastructure. Not only is taking the bus cheaper than driving, but riding a bus is ten times safer than driving a car2!

Increased social capital: Walking increases social capital by promoting face-to-face interaction with your neighbors. Studies have shown that for each 10 minutes a person spends in a daily car commute, time spent in community activities falls by 10 percent3.

Stronger local businesses: Dense, walkable neighborhoods provide local businesses with the foot traffic they need to thrive. It's easier for pedestrians to shop at many stores on one trip, since they don't need to drive between destinations.

The website says:

Picture a walkable neighborhood. You lose weight each time you walk to the grocery store. You stumble home from last call without waiting for a cab. You spend less money on your car—or you don't own a car. When you shop, you support your local economy. You talk to your neighbors.

Sounds good to us!  So, what about your neighborhood?  How does it rank?  Are you moving soon?  Will your WalkScore affect the decision of where you may move?


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Too fun! My house: 91, where I'm living now: 40, and my parents house in TX: 5! Of course I knew this already heh... still a fun tool.

Haha! So fun to compare different homes where you have lived before and where all your friends and family lives (I actually did your house last night, out of curiousity).

My house: 69 (eh - on the low side for Portland!).
My in-laws house in upstate NY: 5!! (no wonder I get so constipated when I go there!)
My parents house in the Bay Area: 48 (not bad for the Bay, I say)
Our old apt in NY: 86 (oh, I miss the old 'hood!)
Our old apt in ATL: 52 (which doesn't seem bad for auto-phillic Atlanta!)
My old apt in Boston: 72

It's kinda fun to compare all the other places we've lived.

Got WalkScore last week by email - great idea to post it here.

NoPo Represent! -- scoring in the ... low 70's. Oh well. One of these days my now-transitional neighborhood will be in the 90's.

Current house: 82 (though I dare say it's really even higher, as there are a lot of Hawthorne and Clinton area restaurants and shops not listed in the walkscore database!)

Old apt in SF: 77 (sort of funny that our neighborhood here has a higher score than our apartment in SF, but I agree)

Old house in Kansas City: 62 (wow, I'd probably disagree with that one, though looking at the distances to the business listed, I'm amazed - I would've thought those were all much further away. But it was probably just that everyone drove to them. I would've never even *thought* of walking or even biking to the grocery store that's listed as 1.14 miles away!)

My parents house in Charlotte: 29 (not surprising, though my mom does walk a lot in her 'hood, but it's mainly just walking for walking's sake)

Super fun! So surprised to that our new neigborhood here in Fres-yes (Fresno) gets a 60, while our old house in Portland got a 25! Our apt in SF, got a whopping 92!! (makes me miss that life a little, the roll out of bed, go around the corner for brunch, grab a drink after work, coffee and bookstore in the afternoon on a winter day... ahhh... 92...)

And hey, that's funny, Shetha, that your house a mere few blocks away is almost 10 points higher than mine! What's up with that?!

My current house near Brentwood Park and Lane Middle School in SE: 48

My childhood home in Worcester, MA (50 miles west of Boston: 15!! No wonder I've always felt like such a slug!

jj -- ahh well you're hitting on a point that the walkscore site sort of hints at and that is: how it doesn't work! A lot of the listings it had were very iffy and one thing it most certainly doesn't take into consideration is how close our friends' houses are!! Abernethy playground isn't even on there - it's just listed as a school. But hey - my workplace just scored a 58! Funny too cuz I just bought fruit at a fruit stand on foot (and that fruit stand is NOT listed hehe)

I was gettting ready to post a similar thought when I saw your posting Shetha. I put in our address and got a score of 85 - which is good and what I would expect for inner NE (under 2 miles to downtown). Some things are interesting. The grocery store is a little store good for picking up a quick treat (think candy or ice cream) and lottery tickets. I love the little store but we could not live on what they sell there. The school is workforce training center that no longer exists. Quite of few things that I would think would increase our score are not list on the map.

It is a fun excercise but the database needs a little updating.

My North Portland house in Arbor Lodge scored a 54, which doesn't seem accurate. It didn't even list the New Season's, the MAX stop, local bike or shoe stores - which are 2 blocks or less from me! It must be more accurate for older businesses and neighborhoods.

I know, I know, the walkscore.com is a bit out of whack. I know that our map didn't even show some newer establishments in our Overlook/Arbor Lodge neigborhood. I wonder how old their data is?

Yay! The WalkScore told what I already know: that at 94 out of 100, our house, smack in the middle between Hawthorne and Division, is one of the best walking neighborhoods in the world. Of course I did get a chuckle that we got points for being close to the scary "Oregon Theater" among the movie theaters within walking distance.

47th & Sandy (our current house) = 88
Uptown Port Townsend, WA (our former house) = 89


So, my old place near 82nd and Glisan got a 66 and my new place, 2 blocks from Alberta and 1 block from New Seasons only received a 68. Crazy, but fun. The house I grew up in on LI, NY got a 46. Our place in SF got a 94, I loved that neighborhood. We didn't even own a car for most of the time we were in SF. My parents place in NYC was given a score of 95. Fun, thanks for sharing. I'll remember to use this when looking for a new place.

JJ and Shetha, for reference, my house scored an 89 (close to Shetha's). My parents house in Minneapolis scored a 71 (not bad), my sis' house in Alexandria, VA scored a 68. Fun, fun, fun!

My old place in Los Angeles: 92

My current home in Portland: 20 :(

People wonder how I could like Los Angeles more than Portland. Right here's your answer.

62, I knew it wasn't too high. I wish we were in a little better walking neighborhood.

The info the score is based on is apparently quite old. None of the newer restaurants and coffee shops in our area are listed, some of them have been around for several years, so I know our 49 is very low. Also, the parks near us have an indoor pool, great playgrounds, community center with a gym and lots of classes, etc, none of which are taken into account. I'm not putting much on this score and not recommending anyone use it for evaluating a neighborhood -- better just drive (better yet cycle!) around and ask the neighbors!

I got a 68 for our house near 39th and Holgate -- funny, Walkscore counted the Starbucks as a coffee shop and the (much better coffee, but few food options) Gladstone Coffee as a restaurant! here's hoping we increase our score with some healthy, kid-friendly restaurants soon.

after finding that two old neighborhoods -- in Charlotte, NC and Reston, VA -- scored 86 each, the obvious limitation of a program like this (other than its imperfect database) is that it doesn't take into account how easy it is to *get* to the grocery store or coffee shop on foot (are there crosswalks? sidewalks? can you walk with a grocery bag without motorists stopping to see if maybe your car has broken down and you need a ride?)

however, kudos to a site that's promoting walkability and the many benefits of leaving your car behind!

For kicks and giggles, I just entered SE 52nd and Woodstock, which is about 1 mile from my (48) house, and came up with an 80. I then tried 39th and Woodstock and got the same. I find that very hard to believe, with all that Woodstock has to offer, with restaurants, library, schools, parks, shopping and Reed College all within a one mile strip.

Oh I love it. My very urban, centrally located on hipster strip apartment in Brooklyn got a 78. My residential sprawling sublet house in SE Portland got a 71. Can I add that the rent prices are the same, and we really love Portland so much more? Sure, the bodega was on the corner in Brooklyn (along with 4 others within 2 blocks), but here you have backyards and great houses!

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