Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fraser Hwy., Langley City Score = 75 Out of 100

I was doing my usual Sunday morning reading and poking around the internet this morning. I stumbled upon a very cool website that rates the walkability of our neighborhoods! Walkscore.com was established to help potential home buyers, renters, and real estate agents to find houses and apartments in great neighborhoods.

Simply plug in your street address and Walk Score will open Google Maps and check the distances of such things as grocery stores, restaurants, cinemas, parks, and many more area amenities from the address that you provided. As these locations are loading in, the site is calculating a Walk Score for your address. The score is based a perfect score of 100.

My home in Walnut Grove scored only a 25 out of a possible 100. But my office on Fraser Hwy. in Langley City scored 75 out of 100. The Township of Langley Municipal Facility (a very green building), scores only a 58 out of 100, while Langley City Hall scores a whopping 82 out of 100!

Plug some of your favorite addresses into this neat website and see what you come up with. Generally I found that the site can easily distinguish between a US and Canadian address automatically. If not, just add the city and province after the street address and you are golden. Enjoy!

7 comments:

Jordan Bateman said...

Bear in mind that older neighbourhoods usually score higher on this as all of their attractions and shops are properly logged by Google Maps, while newer and developing areas still have things that have to be added. We have talked about this at Tourism Langley, as it seems like certain items take a long time to get added.

Joe Zaccaria said...

Jordan,

Overall, good point. But Walnut Grove is old and this explains why the score there is so low with the cul-de-sacs and all!

http://www.walkscore.com/walkable-neighborhoods.shtml

erika said...

Oh my goodness, my current location in Cloverdale gets a measley 17!! (And yes all the amenities show up.) My family's house in North Vancouver's suburbs scores almost twice as much, at 30. Not great but the bus service is 100x better and the environment greener. My sister's neighbourhood on Main St (Vancouver) fetches 78 or higher. Wow! And that's a great area so a place at 90 - 100 must be amazing.

I learned about this site at the Emily Carr grad show in May but a keyboard wasn't supplied so I couldn't actually navigate the site... then I forgot about it. I don't remember what the student's project was but she asked visitors to write down their score.

Nathan Pachal said...

Yep, there are some issues with the systems (ie: it says there are no grocery stores in Langley), but it's pretty darn close to accurate. I used to live in Walnut Grove. If you live by 88th and 200th it's walkable, but anywhere past that is an every hour community shuttle and the 509 that runs during peak hours. (I used to live near 96th and 208th

Jordan Bateman said...

Does it factor in crime rates? That has a huge impact on walkability.

Does it look at the age/condition of the amenities?

Nathan Pachal said...

All very good points. As the site points out,

"How It Doesn't Work: Known Issues with Walk Score

We'll be the first to admit that Walk Score is just an approximation of walkability. There are a number of factors that contribute to walkability that are not part of our algorithm:

* Public transit: Good public transit is important for walkable neighborhoods.

* Street width and block length: Narrow streets slow down traffic. Short blocks make it easier to navigate the grid.

* Safety: How much crime is in the neighborhood? How many traffic accidents are there? Are crosswalks well marked and streets well lit?

* Pedestrian-friendly design: Are there walking paths? Are buildings close to the sidewalk with parking in back? Are sidewalks shaded by trees?

* Topography: Hills can make walking difficult, especially if you're carrying groceries.

* Freeways and bodies of water: Freeways can divide neighborhoods. Swimming is harder than walking.

* Weather: In some places it's just too hot or cold to walk regularly."

That said, I think this tool give a pretty close approximation. And it's just plain fun to try different addresses.

Joe Zaccaria said...

Some real estate sites incorporate basic crime data in their address searches. But I think ago of amenities may be more challenges to present and judge walkability by. After all, its really how they are maintained that matters.