I know gas is getting cheaper, but it still isn’t “cheap.” By far the easiest, not to mention healthiest way to counter the high price of fuel is to walk. I realize that for some people, in some cities, this isn’t a practical solution. But according to walkscore.com, a website that calculates a city or neighborhood’s “walkability,” Charleston is considered a “Walker’s Paradise”. In fact, the Downtown neighborhood that is home to our Real Estate Studio scored a walk score of 97 out of 100. Here’s how they determine the score:
“The Walk Score algorithm works by identifying the closest grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops and other amenities near a given address. The neighborhoods are weighted by population and assigned a Walk Score between 0 and 100. Walk Scores greater than 70 indicate neighborhoods where it’s possible to get by without owning a car, while scores of 90+ qualify as a “Walker’s Paradise.”
In these environmetally-conscious times there are more reasons than ever for people to turn to their own two feet for transportation. Here are a few answers to the question of “Why Walking Matters:”
“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 every 10 minutes a person spends in a daily car commute, time spent in community activities falls by 10%.
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.”
“As Americans look to reduce their environmental impact and ease reliance on cars, the appeal of walkable communities continues to grow,” says Christopher Leinberger of the Brookings Institution. “People increasingly value the convenience and connectedness that vibrant, walkable communities offer – and the health, safety and environmental benefits are icing on the cake.
– Traci Magnus