How Walk-Friendly is Your Neighbourhood?
We at blogTO obviously love a great Google Maps Mashup, so here's another mapping tool to distract you from your hard working Friday.
Walk Score, a nifty little site that helps explain why you live in Toronto and not L.A., will rate a street address based on its walk-ability level. My place, near Bathurst and Queen, gets a score of 71 out of 100 (compared to 31 for parts of car-happy Mississauga).
The site uses an algorithm to determine the walk-ability score of a specific address. The easier it is to walk to stores, parks, schools and restaurants, the higher the score. The ratings can be a suburban "Driving Only" (0-25 out of 100) all the way up to a "Walkers' Paradise" (90-100 out of 100).
Unless you hate people and exercise, the idea of a walkable city is obviously a good thing. More walking usually means fewer cars and pollution, more social interaction and exercise. On the more academic side, there's Robert Putnam (the Harvard Prof who was mentioned in this New Yorker Magazine piece on commuting) who sees people living in a triangle where each of the three points represent where you sleep, work and shop. Generally, the smaller the triangle, the happier you are (which means I'm pretty happy - I sleep, work and shop in a 4 km triangle).
The site would be way useful if you're looking to move to a less car-reliant area or are just interested to see how much more walk-able your Toronto neighbourhood is compared to your friend from Oakville (I found a score of 22 in a randomly selected Oakville 'hood in case you're wondering). Or use the site to determine how easy it is to stumble home from a good time (I get eight bars listed within 700 meters of my comfy bed!).
Photo: From Moonwire from the blogTO Flickr pool
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