With gas at $4.00-plus per gallon, living someplace where you get get some things done without jumping in the car, is becoming increasingly more desirable. The site walkscore.com lists America's 40 Most Walkable Communities. Indianapolis ranks 37th with a score of Walkability Score of 42 out of 100. San Francisco occupies the top spot with a score of 86.
The site also has a feature where you can enter in any U.S. address and it will provide a Walkability Score. In case you are wondering, my neighborhood in Lebanon, IN scores an 80. Not bad.
They offer the following advice on what makes a neighborhood walkable:
- A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a discernible center, whether it's a shopping district, a main street, or a public space.
- Density: The neighborhood is compact enough for local businesses to flourish and for public transportation to run frequently.
- Mixed income, mixed use: Housing is provided for everyone who works in the neighborhood: young and old, singles and families, rich and poor. Businesses and residences are located near each other.
- Parks and public space: There are plenty of public places to gather and play.
- Pedestrian-centric design: Buildings are placed close to the street to cater to foot traffic, with parking lots relegated to the back.
- Nearby schools and workplaces: Schools and workplaces are close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.
New models of economic development focus on quality, connected places. Factors like a walkability score are becoming important factors in where people choose to live and work and where companies decide to invest.
Are Indiana communities considering things like walkability as they make land use decisions? Should they be?