No American city, not even New York, is a “Walker’s Paradise,” according to Walk Score, the outfit that rates communities according to how easy it is to access places on foot (and by bike and transit).
But nine of the top 10, including No. 4 Philadelphia, are rated “Very Walkable” by Walk Score.
New York, as always, topped the walkability ratings with a Walk Score of 89 – just shy of “Walker’s Paradise” status. In a “Walker’s Paradise,” daily errands do not require a car to perform them. Most errands can be performed without one in “Very Walkable” neighborhoods.
A news release from Walk Score parent Redfin noted that all 10 of the most walkable cities in the country became more walkable this year than last. The biggest gainer of the 10: Long Beach, the only city in Southern California on the list. Its Walk Score jumped 3.2 points, enough to knock Baltimore out of 10th place. Philadelphia, which was also the fourth most walkable city in the United States last year, experienced a 1.7-point rise in its Walk Score.
Jennifer Seal, a Redfin agent located in Philadelphia, noted that “property values go hand in hand with increased walkability. When people sense that walkability is increasing in a neighborhood, property values go up, making [real estate in walkable neighborhoods] a sound investment.”
Seal noted that some of the biggest gains in walkability in the city occurred in neighborhoods just outside the boundaries of Center City, in particular East Passyunk and Fishtown. “Fishtown’s booming in popularity, and Frankford Avenue has become a strip where you can get anything you want,” she said. Similarly, “with the growth of the commercial corridor on East Passyunk Avenue, the neighborhood has skyrocketed in property value and people want to buy homes there.”
The variety of businesses on both streets contributes to neighborhood vitality. “There are all kinds of services on Frankford and Passyunk avenues,” she continued. “Corner bodegas, holistic health care—you see everything.”
Even though no city is a “Walker’s Paradise,” neighborhoods in that category can be found in just about all of the top 10 cities. In Philadelphia, all of the neighborhoods that comprise Greater Center City and University City, Fishtown and Avenue of the Arts North, to name a few, rate as “Walker’s Paradises.”
The Walk Score formula takes into account road design, presence of sidewalks, number and proximity of amenities, and linkages to public transportation in computing a walkability value for a place. Scores are available for cities, neighborhoods within cities, and individual addresses on the Walk Score site.