DC Ranked 7th Most Walkable City in the US

by Mark Wellborn

DC Ranked 7th Most Walkable City in the US
Downtown DC by Shay Thomason

Washingtonians should not fret too much about the area’s rising gas prices considering that DC recently made WalkScore.com’s list of most walkable cities in the country. DC ranked seventh on a list topped by San Francisco and New York.

WalkScore.com is a site that calculates the “walkability” of every address in the United States. Specifically, it assigns a score between 0 and 100 for an address based on its proximity to various establishments for everyday wants and needs (grocery stores, pharmacies, movie theaters, restaurants, schools, etc.). Any address with a Walk Score greater than 70 is considered one where it is possible to get by without a car.

The Walk Score for a specific address is based on the walking distances to establishments and services in ten different categories. The closer a certain service or establishment is to the address, the more points it receives. Anything that is farther than a mile away receives no points, a section of the scoring system that some have found fault in.

“We got a call from a 68 year-old lady who said she routinely walks 1 to 2 miles for her errands,” Walk Score co-founder Mike Mathieu told UrbanTurf. “Not surprisingly, she took issue with the score for her address.”

According to Walk Score, DC’s most walkable neighborhoods are Dupont Circle and Logan Circle with scores of almost 100. The least walkable neighborhoods are Barnaby Woods, Anacostia and The Palisades with scores in the mid-40s.

Most Walkable DC Neighborhoods
Neighborhood Walk Score
Dupont Circle 99
Logan Circle 98
Downtown 97
U Street Corridor 97
Foggy Bottom 95

“The thing about DC that is interesting compared to other cities on the list is that the top ten neighborhoods all have scores over 90, which is what we consider ‘Walkers Paradises,’” Mathieu said. “Those are neighborhoods where there are lots of nearby amenities and it is really easy to get around without a car.”

This is not the first time that DC has been recognized as a place where a car is optional. A report released by the Brookings Institution in December concluded that the DC Metro area had the highest number of “walkable places” per capita among US major metropolitan areas.

Least Walkable DC Neighborhoods
Neighborhood Walk Score
Barnaby Woods 44
Anacostia 48
The Palisades 48
Deanwood 49
Berkeley 54

Real estate brokers are seeing the advantage of DC’s latest claim to fame. Realtor McEnearney Associates has made a commitment to include a Walk Score for every property that it lists.

“WalkScore.com is a really innovative site,” McEnearney’s Paul Cizek said recently. “Parking is getting tougher in DC, people are choosing alternate ways to get around, and things like that are pushing people to look at places where a car is not a necessity.”

However, one downside to Walk Score is that it does not include an address’ location relative to mass transit in its scoring system (Mathieu said this is in the works), something that those buying homes certainly take into consideration. Cizek said that buyers are paying a $50,000-$75,000 premium for properties that are within three to four blocks of a Metro station.

“When I lived in DC, my greatest challenge was getting from point A to point B because there is a huge chunk of the city that is not Metro accessible,” he said. “Also, regardless of how nice the property is, if you have to walk through unsafe neighborhoods to get to the Metro there is a different perception of the value of the property.”

That said, Cizek is still very high on Walk Score’s value.

“If I can live and entertain within my neighborhood that is a big plus, and Walk Score is opening people’s eyes to places where that is possible.”


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