Saturday, August 2, 2008

How Walkable Is Your Neighbourhood?

This is very, very cool.

There's a website called Walk Score where you can actually find out your neighbourhood's "walkability rating", based on proximity to grocery stores, parks, shops, restaurants, libraries, etc.

It's not a perfect system, particularly for smaller Canadian places like Milton. For example, none of the three closest grocery stores to my house are listed, nor is the movie theatre, and they don't include things like banks, schools or the post office. Still, it's a neat way to get a quick idea of just how walkable any neighbourhood is.

For example, if you just enter "Milton, Ontario", it comes up as 70/100, or "Very Walkable". However, that's for a location corresponding to Town Hall, right in the heart of downtown. If I enter my address on Commercial St., it comes up as 62, or "Somewhat Walkable". I suspect it would do better if those grocery stores were in there.

My son's friend lives in one of the '70s developments in the NE quadrant of town - his house scores a 58, only slightly less than mine. However, a friend of mine in another older development in the SE quadrant only gets a 32, or "Car-Dependant", although that is definitely because there are things missing from the map.

As for the new developments, here`s a random sampling:

Dixon Drive: 30
Weller Cross: 13
Yates Blvd.: 10
Lancaster Blvd.: 10
Pettit Trail: 18
Ferguson Drive: 12

Just for fun, I also entered the Toronto addresses for my first home near Avenue Rd. & Lawrence (only 37, but still pretty), my second home near York Mills and Bayview (30 - ouch!), and my first apartment on Dovercourt (80!)

Of course, none of this takes into account things like street width and design, trees, sidewalks, bike accessibility, etc., but it's still a lot of fun. So you tell me - how walkable is your neighbourhood?

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