Want a Walkable Neighborhood? What exactly does a walkable neighborhood mean? Technically, as a licensed real estate brokerage, we can no longer say that a neighborhood is walkable or not as it may discriminate those unable to walk. However, this term has become synonymous with real estate listings and stats so it is a valuable selling point for those interested in this type of feature. So, for those interested in a walkable neighborhood, let’s talk about what that actually means and what to look for if you’re interested in this type of neighborhood.
A walkable neighborhood technically means that several major amenities are within one to three blocks. According to Wikipedia, “walkability is a measure of how friendly and area is to walking. Walkability has health, environmental, and economic benefits. Factors influencing walkability include the presence of footpaths, sidewalks, or other pedestrian rights of ways and is an important concept in sustainable urban design.”
If you’re in the market for a home with a high walkability score, here are some things to look for and research.
#1. Check out the neighborhood during different times of the day.
Walkability can mean different things during different times of the day or evening. If an area has higher traffic during rush-hour, the neighborhood might not be as walkable as you’d like. Check out the sidewalks, shade trees, street furniture, crosswalks and pedestrian signals, and safe streetlights. Is this a type of neighborhood that you could walk to and from during various times of the day or night?
#2. Take a virtual walk.
If you are unable to be in the neighborhood during different times of the day or night, a simple Google maps search can offer a virtual tour just about any time. The Google Street View is a great way to map out an area, take a look at the day and time the map was created to determine the activity, and see how far away a particular house would be from something you are interested in such as a coffee shop or gym.
#3. How far away do you want to be from certain things?
What is the purpose of walkability for you? Are you looking to be close to your fitness center, salon, bank, convenience store, market or grocery store, restaurant, school, or coffee shop? Find out what’s important to you and how often you will be walking to these areas. This can determine the right home in the right neighborhood.
#4. Check out the walkability score.
You can check out the walkability of any neighborhood simply by looking up the WalkScore® by the address. Anything higher than a 70 is considered good walkability. Anything higher than a 90 and typically less than 10% of residents say you even need a car. In addition to the walk score, bike score and transit scores are also important for those that choose to bike or take public transportation.
#5. Find out what’s “near me”.
Doing a Google search in maps for what is near you is always a great way to determine how close you are to the nearest amenities or services. Check out a few of the places and see if the route is pedestrian-friendly. There might be a great coffee shop right across the street, but that Street could be a 5-Lane Hwy.