Monday, August 13, 2007

Most City neighborhoods require a car

Walk Score is a web-based tool for researching real estate to find out the walkability of a property's neighborhood.

The interface allows you to enter any address into its search engine. It then calculates the distances from that address to shopping, restaurants, bars, schools, etc. and combines them all into a formula to calculate a "walk score".

The site breaks down the scores it computes as follows (paraphrased):

* 90-100: Can live fairly easily without a car
* 70-90: It's possible to get by without a car
* 50-70: Some businesses within walking distance, some require the use of a bike, public transportation or a car
* 25-50: Few destinations are within walking range, most require the use of a bike, public transportation or a car
* 0-25: Forget about walking

The site does admit its faults. It doesn't include factors such as street width, block length, crime, traffic, the availability of sidewalks, topography, the availability of public transit, freeways, bodies of water, or weather in its calculations.

It's fun anyway.

One thing that I noticed right away is the influence an adjacent neighborhood can have on the score. For example, Hopple and Colerain in Camp Washington is home to few walkable amenities, but the software draws into the formula destinations from both Clifton and Clifton Heights. Queensgate scores as moderately walkable, but I wouldn't try it.

Also, the score seems to have a socioeconomic aspect. Some neighborhoods near the bottom of the list are completely walkable, but the lack of economic investment lowers the number of available destinations.

And it's pretty clear that the public housing projects are little isolated islands, built without taking into account the residents' needs to actually go and buy things--or work--in a nearby commercial district.

I have tried my best to approximate the "center" of each neighborhood*, which is listed after the neighborhood name. These are subject to debate of course, and please feel free to post your findings.

The purpose of this project is to find out how walkable an area would be for someone living near one of these centers.

(NEXT WEEK: The rest of Hamilton County)

Car-free living
Downtown (Fountain Square): 97
Over-the-Rhine (Vine and Liberty): 91

Borrow a car every now and then
Oakley (Oakley Square): 88
Pleasant Ridge (Montgomery and Ridge): 86
Northside (Hamilton and Blue Rock): 85
Prospect Hill (Sycamore and Milton): 83
Clifton Heights (Clifton and McMillan): 82
Hyde Park (Hyde Park Square): 82
Clifton (Clifton and Ludlow): 80
East Price Hill (Warsaw and St. Lawrence): 80
Corryville (Corry and Short Vine): 78
Walnut Hills (Peebles Corner): 78
Mount Adams (St. Gregory and Pavilion): 77
Mount Auburn (Auburn and Dorchester): 77
Fairview (Ravine and Warner): 71
East Hyde Park (Erie and Marburg): 71
O'Bryonville (Madison and Cinnamon): 71
West End (Linn and Liberty): 71

You should own a car, but you won't always need it
Mount Lookout (Mount Lookout Square): 66
Roselawn (Reading and Summit): 65**
East Walnut Hills: (DeSales Corner): 63
College Hill (Hamilton and Cedar): 62
Mount Washington (Beechmont, Corbly and Sutton): 58
West Price Hill (Glenway and Cleves Warsaw): 58
Bond Hill (Paddock and California): 57**
Carthage (Vine and 70th): 57
Westwood (Harrison and Montana): 57
Avondale (Avondale Towne Center): 55
Hartwell (Vine and Galbraith): 55
Lower Price Hill (Eighth and State): 54
University Heights (McMicken and Marshall): 54
Madisonville (Madison and Whetsel): 52
Queensgate (Union Terminal): 52

Buy a gas discount card
South Cumminsville/Millvale (Beekman and Dreman): 48
Columbia Tusculum (Columbia Pkwy and Delta): 46
Camp Washington (Hopple and Colerain): 45
Kennedy Heights (Montgomery and Kennedy): 43
East End (Eastern and Setchell): 42
Paddock Hills (Paddock and Tennessee): 40
Sayler Park (Gracely and Monitor): 40
Evanston (Five Points): 38
North Fairmount (Beekman and Hopple): 37
Mount Airy (Colerain and North Bend): 35
Winton Terrace (Dutch Colony and Winneste): 32
Linwood (Eastern and Linwood): 32
Spring Grove Village (N Edgewood and Epworth): 31
Sedamsville (River and Delhi): 29
South Fairmount (Queen City and Grand): 29
North Avondale (Reading and Paddock): 28
East Westwood (Baltimore and McHenry): 26
English Woods (Community Center): 26

Help...I'm trapped!
Fay Apartments (3800 President): 23
Riverside (River and Anderson Ferry): 18
California (Kellogg and Eldorado): 15

* Winton Hills doesn't really have a center. I have included Winton Terrace instead. Also, I've included the subneighborhoods of East Hyde Park, O'Bryonville and Prospect Hill. Generally, I will put the "center" in the middle of a business district or at the busiest intersection.
** Jordan Crossing (Swifton Commons): 72