April 23, 2011

What’s Your Home’s Walk Score?

imageZillow has added Walk Scores to homes on their site.  You can look up your house on Zillow or on Walk Score and see how walkable your neighborhood is, according to their formula.  The score is by the maps are on your house’s page.  Do you agree with your home’s walk score?

My neighborhood has a Walk Score of 65, or “moderately walkable.” However, there’s a new beta feature on Walk Score called Street Smart, which adds in number of intersections per square mile and block length in calculating the score, and on that measure my neighborhood goes down to 54, or only “Somewhat Walkable.”  What it doesn’t measure is how pleasant or unpleasant the walk is, based on number of shade trees or how well the sidewalk is maintained.

imageOh, it’s got some bugs, like calling a catering company run out of someone’s house a restaurant, but the idea makes sense.  I just don’t see being within 100 feet of a commercial zone as a good thing.  When I ran the same scores on a house across the street from some commercial zones near Fremont and Mary in Sunnyvale, the scores went up to 80 (Very Walkable, Walk Score) and 65 (Somewhat Walkable, Street Smart).  But another house behind a different big batch of retail centers at the corner of Hollenbeck and Homestead got scores of 66 and 69.


Feel free to report your Walk Score, or vehemently disagree with the algorithm, or bring up any topic you wish.  This is an Open Thread.  Remember, tomorrow is Easter, so late start to Spring Bounce this year!

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

12 Responses to “What’s Your Home’s Walk Score?”

  1. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    That’s my old hood in Slummyvale. And indeed it was walkable, the most fun part was Maude, west of Mathilda, there are no sidewalks but due to a large homeless encampment back amongst the abandoned tech buildings, there are a lot of people walking, with babies in strollers even, dodging the cars – oh yeah there’s no bike lane either. Walk the other way and take in the evening entertainment in front of the large, well-stocked liquor store in the supermarket complex. It’s got a big, wide sidewalk in front of it, and there’s generally a fight or three in the evenings. Fun, fun. Then there’s the famous “you owe me, Whitey” guy in the wheelchair who hangs out in front of the market and cusses you out if you don’t give, or give enough. Don’t be fooled, he can run like OJ, he just sits in that chair to raise awareness of the handicapped, and his take. The other doorway of the market generally has another beggar, which changes, either an old lady who’s in a wheelchair and needs to be, yet another African-American, a lady with a sob story about 3 kids and a hotel room, or who knows? You may even get the little Japanese in-your-face gal who gets, you guessed it, in your face, asking for money. If you miss her, go to the Starbucks at the other end of the strip mall and she’ll be at your table shortly.

    Behind the complex, it’s sleepy time! Campout! Oh, wait, gotta trade in some stolen bicycles first, ok you hairy smelly kids, go to sleep! No, you’ve had your Night Train, now you an’ your brother stop telling stories and go to sleep. It’s a school night? Or something.

    The huge apartment complex is regularly patrolled by police and tow companies looking for cars to repo, and the 7-11 back there is a fun place at any hour. Night-times are special, the complex is full of characters who only come out at night. CREEPY.

    Downtown Slummyvale has the attractions of the train, and Paul & Harvey’s a bar that gives dive bars a bad name. Then there’s the Abyss, bringing the Oakland crowd in.

    I could go on and on. Ahh, Slummyvale, how do I love thee? From a distance!

  2. madhaus Says:

    Well, that’s the other side of Slummyvale if you’re talking Maude. Go run the numbers on that area you described and see if it scores comparable to the privileged Southern Slice. I did try the 7-11s on Maude, the one near Mathilda scores 74, the one closer to Wolfe, 57.

    Want to know something funny? One of the regulars here has repeatedly (and wrongly, I maintain) bashed Sunnyvale for not being as walkable as Palo Alto. But his Community Center neighborhood scores quite badly using Street Smart, and compares with my hood using Walk Score. It’s rated 35 in Street Smart, or car-dependent. I guess walking to Steve Job’s house isn’t in the algorithm!

  3. Petsmart banker Says:

    The walk score is about errands and amenities, not about how lovely the stroll is. 94087 is only somewhat livable anyway 😉

    How Walk Score Works
    90–100 Walker’s Paradise — Daily errands do not require a car.
    70–89 Very Walkable — Most errands can be accomplished on foot.
    50–69 Somewhat Walkable — Some amenities within walking distance.
    25–49 Car-Dependent — A few amenities within walking distance.
    0–24 Car-Dependent — Almost all errands require a car.

  4. Petsmart banker Says:

    Some houses in Vallejo must have a walk score over 90…

  5. anon Says:

    What do you do when you are trying to sell a worthless piece of shit? Turn its negatives into positives.

    As we used to say back in the 90s: “That’s not a bug, it’s a feature.”

    No no, its not a filthy house in a crime ridden area. It has a 98% walk score!

    Seriously. Anyone with options knows to just buy a home in the hills and move on.

  6. Petsmart banker Says:

    Senior Housing Locator” ad by Google on the screenshot… Ouch! 🙂

  7. tuno Says:

    That was beautiful, Gilroy Alex. I almost feel as if I’ve lived there too, after reading your poetic description. Now I think I’ll take a Lysol bath.

  8. tuno Says:

    #6 – oh my, that’s a must-click. “A Place for Mom.” truly creepy.

  9. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    I just put in my address, my Walk Score is …. 5!

    Just because it takes an HOUR to walk to the nearest bus stop…..

    Heck I think I put in a few miles on a busy day without even leaving our land.

    That being said, I had a pretty productive day, going around on this modern invention called the bicycle. Travel and fitness all in one. A mere run into town can mean putting in 25 miles, by the time you count al the little side trips etc. Now, that’s a tiny amount of riding for a super fit messenger or racer jock. And a lot for the average schlub.

    Here’s a word for non-riders who need to eschew the gas nozzle: Electra. Unless you have deeper pockets than I do, get an Electra 7d cruiser. The bike costs under $300 and will do most everything well, and the most important thing, comfort, excellently. I’ve long said even a new rider can do a “century”, a 100-mile ride, in a day as long as their ass holds out. I’m far from a new rider, but I got this cruisery, comfy thing because I have plans to become Gilroy’s only gringo street ice cream seller. If I can get the licensing, I can carry a cooler of ice cream bars in the HUGE Wald basket I have on the front of this beastie, and sell ice creams I get for 50c at CostCo, for $1. That’s less than the Mexicans sell their treats for, and I’ll have a much more modern, comfy rig to work from, instead of those huge ol’ trailers on truck tires that the Mexican ice cream co. makes you pull behind your bike if you work for them. Cheaper faster smarter yadda yadda. Actually I won’t be competing head to head with the Mexican ice cream sellers anyway, my Spanish sucks anyway, and I’ll be selling to people who likely never buy ice cream from the Mexican dudes.

    And that’s how to get around and run a business (if I can get the licensing figured out) without a car, in a place rated 5.

  10. BogoEstater Says:

    No no, its not a filthy house in a crime ridden area. It has a 98% walk score!

    Reverse your logic. Higher walk score tends to have higher crime. It’s called walk-in robbery.

  11. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    Walk score of 28 for my crap shack. And that’s not taking into account the first mile and a half is straight up or straight down, depending on which way you go!

  12. SiO2 Says:

    42. So it’s not only a walk score, but also the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

    It’s a good tool but not perfect. It omits the park that’s closest to my house (as it’s not on google maps for some reason). Also it depends on what’s important to walk to. Having a grocery store nearby is very nice. Having a high end restaurant nearby wouldn’t matter to me at this point in my life.

    Street Smart score failed for my address, with “try again later”. I see the benefit of counting actual miles vs. as the crow flies. I don’t really see the benefit of counting block length. I guess there’s a theory that longer blocks are less pleasant to walk on? but practically speaking, more intersections = more time waiting for lights or cars.

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