Claremont Insider: Walk Scoring Claremont

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Walk Scoring Claremont

I'm walkin', yes indeed I'm talkin'....
- Antoine "Fats" Domino

Centinel over at the Foothill Cities Blog turned us onto a website called where anyone can measure the walkability index of any given location in the U.S.

Walk Score explains its raison d'être:

Why Walking Matters

Walkable neighborhoods offer surprising benefits to our health, the environment, and our communities.

Better health: A study in Washington State found that the average resident of a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood weighs 7 pounds less than someone who lives in a sprawling neighborhood. Residents of walkable neighborhoods drive less and suffer fewer car accidents, a leading cause of death between the ages of 15 - 45.

Reduction in greenhouse gas: Cars are a leading cause of global warming. Your feet are zero pollution transportation machines.

More transportation options: Compact neighborhoods tend to have higher population density, which leads to more public transportation options and bicycle infrastructure. Not only is taking the bus cheaper than driving, but riding a bus is ten times safer than driving a car!

Increased social capital: Walking increases social capital by promoting face-to-face interaction with your neighbors. Studies have shown that for each 10 minutes a person spends in a daily car commute, time spent in community activities falls by 10 percent.

Stronger local businesses: Dense, walkable neighborhoods provide local businesses with the foot traffic they need to thrive. It's easier for pedestrians to shop at many stores on one trip, since they don't need to drive between destinations.

And here's how they figure their scores:

How It Works

Walk Score helps people find walkable places to live. Walk Score calculates the walkability of an address by locating nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc. Check out how Walk Score doesn't work.

What does my score mean?

Your Walk Score is a number between 0 and 100. The walkability of an address depends on how far you are comfortable walking—after all, everything is within walking distance if you have the time. Here are general guidelines for interpreting your score:

  • 90 - 100 = Walkers' Paradise: Most errands can be accomplished on foot and many people get by without owning a car.
  • 70 - 90 = Very Walkable: It's possible to get by without owning a car.
  • 50 - 70 = Some Walkable Locations: Some stores and amenities are within walking distance, but many everyday trips still require a bike, public transportation, or car.
  • 25 - 50 = Not Walkable: Only a few destinations are within easy walking range. For most errands, driving or public transportation is a must.
  • 0 - 25 = Driving Only: Virtually no neighborhood destinations within walking range. You can walk from your house to your car!

How it Works

Walk Score™ uses a patent-pending system to calculate the walkability of an address based on:

  • Calculating a score for each of these locations.
  • The distance to walkable locations near an address.
  • Combining these scores into one easy to read Walk Score.

Centinel typed in the address for Pasadena City Hall and got a walkability score of 98 out of 100.

We picked up Centinel's idea and thought we'd apply it to Claremont's Base Line Rd. affordable housing project, which is on its deathbed begging for a Do Not Resuscitate order.

We went to and first entered "Towne Ave. and Base Line Rd., Claremont, CA," the rough location of the Base Line Rd. project being pushed by the Claremont League of Women Voters, Mayor Peter Yao, and Mayor Pro Tem Ellen Taylor. Walk Score kicked out a walkability index of 19 out of 100 for the project area - a very poor score:

Click on Image to Enlarge

In contrast to Towne Ave. and Base Line Rd., typing "111 S. College Ave., Claremont, CA," the old Claremont Courier building location and possible alternate site for the affordable housing project, produced a walkability index of 89 out of 100, an almost ideal total on the Walk Score scale:

Click on Image to Enlarge

So, for all their talk about sustainability (that means YOU, Bob Tener), by insisting on jamming the affordable housing project into the Base Line Rd. site, the Claremont 400, the Claremont's League of Women Voters, and the City of Claremont are demonstrating through their actions that they aren't really interested in reducing car trips, encouraging use of mass transit and walking, or helping local businesses by placing new, denser housing near the areas with the most shopping and restaurants - all those things that are aspects of REAL sustainability.

It's time, we think, for them to put their money where they mouths are.