Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chicago is the 4th most walkable city!

We love Chicago for how pedestrian-oriented it is. No matter where you go, there are sidewalks, at the very minimum, and often painted crosswalks and things like countdown timers. More importantly, there are places to walk to, for pleasure or to run errands. City parks, neighborhood pubs, the local cleaners, are all there around the corner, or at least close by. So we don’t need national organizations to tell us we have it good in our fair city. Nevertheless, it’s great when we do get recognition. Today Walk Score released its newest list of most walkable places in the United States, and Chicago is fourth most walkable city!

The score is calculated by measuring the number of amenities within easy walking distance in each area.

Here are the top ten US cities and their scores:

New York City  85.3
San Francisco    84.9
Boston               79.2
Chicago             74.3
Philadelphia       74.1
Seattle                73.7
Washington DC 73.2
Miami                 72.5
Minneapolis        69.3
Oakland              68.2

Is it a coincidence that these happen to be some of the most popular cities in the United States for tourism and livability? I don’t think so. These are the cities that college kids want to move to after graduating, and I’d even say roughly in the order listed (except swap LA for Philly). People are happy living in neighborhoods in which they can walk to grocery stores, restaurants, and transit stops. These cities are full of them.

The scoring system translates to the following, according to Walk Score:

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
49 -25    Car-Dependent – A few amenities within walking distance
0-24       Car-Dependent – Almost all errands require a car

So Chicago as a whole is “Very Walkable” but there’s a big spread between neighborhoods. Within Chicago’s boundaries, they also analyzed 220 separate neighborhoods and calculated the Walk Score of each one. Here are the top 11 Walkable Chicago neighborhoods, and their scores:

#1                 Printer’s Row      99

Tied for #2   Near North           97
                     Sheridan Park      97

Tied for #3   Dearborn Park      95
                     Old Town            95

Tied for #4    Gold Coast          94
                      Lincoln Square    94
                      Noble Square      94
                      Park West            94
                      River North         94
                      Uptown               94

But you want to know about Lincoln Park specifically, or you wouldn’t be reading this blog, right? Lincoln Park as we know is split up into 8 sub-neighborhoods on the Walk Score list, and they received an average score of 91, which makes Lincoln Park a “Walker’s Paradise”! Here are the Lincoln Park neighborhoods and their Walk Scores:

Park West                      94
Sheffield Neighbors       93
Wrightwood Neighbors 93
West DePaul                  91
Lathrop Homes              90
Ranch Triangle              88
Old Town Triangle        88
Lincoln Park                  87

To see the exact neighborhood boundaries, find out the walk score of your home address, and lots more, go to the Walk Score website.

Happy walking!

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