Walkability Score- What is it and why does it matter?

Pioneer Square Pergola

Pioneer Square Pergola

Walkability- it’s a word that some of you may be familiar with already, and one that real estate marketing often uses. But what exactly does it mean?

Used by Walkscore.com, it’s intended definition is to indicate how easily and readily connected a property is to the neighborhood and community around it. For instance, is the nearest grocery store within easy walking distance? Or would it be necessary to drive there?

The higher a property’s Walk Score (or Transit Score or Bike Score) on a scale of 1-100, the more connected the neighborhood is with the property. Take this chart example. But what makes a community walkable?

  • A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a center, whether it’s a main street or a public space.
  • People: Enough people for businesses to flourish and for public transit to run frequently.
  • Mixed income, mixed use: Affordable housing located near businesses.
  • Parks and public space: Plenty of public places to gather and play.
  • Pedestrian design: Buildings are close to the street, parking lots are relegated to the back.
  • Schools and workplaces: Close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.
  • Complete streets: Streets designed for bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit.

Now, why is this score important? It’s generally known that those who walk more, whether it’s just a few steps or hundreds of steps a day are generally healthier than those who don’t. By walking more, not only do you get outside, but you also use your car less, and thereby reduce your carbon footprint. If you were able to find a property in a highly walkable area, you might be able to forgo the car altogether!

And here’s some great news: Seattle is rated as one of the most walkable cities in the U.S.! With a Walk Score of 71, a Transit Score of 57, and a Bike Score of 64, Seattle is the 8th most walkable city, with it’s most walkable neighborhoods being Downtown, the Denny Triangle, and Pioneer Square.

How important is the walkability of the neighborhood to you when looking for a new property?

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