Walkable Neighborhoods – How does Old Town fare?

    There has been a lot of talk lately about walkable/bikable neighborhoods.  But what exactly does it mean to deem a region “walkable”?  To find out one measuring stick, you can head to www.walkscore.com, type in your address and out will come your neighborhoods score. It’s that easy! Walk Score determines the distance of an address to nearby amenities and calculates the score, which in essence tells you how the neighborhoods fair to a car-light lifestyle. 
    A walk score algorithm is used and awards points that are based on how close an address is to amenities in each category. Amenities that are within a 1/4 of a mile to an address scores the most points and as the amentias get further away the points decline. Once they reach greater than one mile away no points are awarded. Once all the categories are addressed the address receives a score between 0 and 100. The following categories are given to the points ranges:

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.

25–49 – Car-Dependent — A few amenities within walking distance.

0–24 – Car-Dependent — Almost all errands require a car

   Walkable neighborhoods offer surprising benefits to the environment, our health, our finances, and our communities. For example, cars are a leading cause of climate change, while your feet are zero-pollution transportation machines. Additionally the average resident of a walkable neighborhood weighs seven pounds less than someone who lives in a sprawling neighborhood.  Also, perhaps not surprisingly, one point of Walk Score is worth up to $3,000 of value for your property. The Walk Score website can give supporting data on how property values are effected by a low/high Walk ScoreLastly, studies show that for every 10 minutes a person spends in a daily car commute, time spent in community activities falls by 10%.

   According to the Walk Score, Old Town trots in with a score of 80 – which is excellent considering such busy metropolitan cities such as Chicago score around an average of 98.  As Spring begins to creep in in Lansing, leave the car in the garage, throw on your walking shoes or grab your bike (or one that you can borrow from the OTCA), and start exploring all that our beautiful district has to offer when you’re not trapped inside your vehicle.