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Top 10 Most Walkable US Cities

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What makes a city walkable? Jeff Speck, author of the book "Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step At A Time," answered that question in a recent interview on NPR's Marketplace. "A walk has to be useful, safe, comfortable, and interesting if you're going to get people out of their cars and onto the sidewalks." said Speck. He said most American cities have a long way to go before becoming truly walkable and cites the car as being the driving force in city planning: "A city is being planned not by its mayor, but by a public works director who is responding to complaints about traffic and parking." Some cities retain their original pedestrian friendliness from pre-car days, by virtue of density of design or use of public transportation. Cars just take a back seat naturally. Some cities are more proactive and are focusing specifically on walking in their city planning, realizing the value in property and tourism dollars. Whatever the reason, cities do have a ways to go, but they often fare better than outlying areas. The trend toward more walkability is only going up. Below are the "Top 10 Most Walkable US Cities," using Maponics Walkability™ ratings and Maponics Neighborhood Boundaries. In addition, we've noted the top 3 most walkable neighborhoods within these metro areas. What sets apart Walkability (which uses a 1-5 scale with 5 being the highest and most positive rating) from other systems such as Walk Score (and why our Top 10s differ) is how comprehensive and customizable it is. We've tried to answer more of those real life questions that impact walkability.

For example, Maponics' algorithm takes into account critical factors not considered in other walk rating indexes, such as street type, speed limits, intersection complexity, POI accessibility (not just proximity!) and population density.

Couple those key factors with the largest and most accurate neighborhood database (150,000+ neighborhoods in 2,100+ cities across the United States), and you get truly authoritative walk rating results. The end result? An analysis that comes as close as possible to accurately measuring what most people consider a "walkable community," or, in this case, a walkable city.

Photo credit: AMNewyork.com

 

1. New York City, NY (5.0)

  • Bowery (5.0)
  • Chelsea (5.0)
  • Chinatown (5.0)

Photo credit: sfgate.com

 

2. San Francisco Bay Area, CA (4.98)

  • Chinatown (5.0)
  • Downtown San Francisco-Civic Center (5.0)
  • Financial District (5.0)

Photo credit: visitphilly.com

 

3. Philadelphia, PA (4.96)

  • Avenue of the Arts South (5.0)
  • Center City East (5.0)
  • Rittenhouse Square (5.0)

Photo credit: seattlemet.com

 

4. Seattle, WA (4.93)

  • Central Business District (5.0)
  • First Hill (5.0)
  • Belltown (4.9)

Photo credit: dc.urbanturf.com

 

5. Washington DC (4.91)

  • Dupont Circle (5.0)
  • Downtown - Penn Quarter - Chinatown (4.9)
  • Logan Circle - Shaw (4.9)

Photo credit: Flickr user khchan3329

 

6. Boston, MA (4.86)

  • Bay Village (4.9)
  • Beacon Hill (4.9)
  • Chinatown - Leather District (4.9)

Photo credit: lionsfastpitch.blogspot.com

 

7. Chicago, IL (4.81)

  • The Loop (5.0)
  • Near North Side (4.9)
  • West Loop (4.9)

Photo credit: Forrest Armstrong

 

 

8. Portland, OR (4.75)

  • Old Town - Chinatown (4.9)
  • Downtown Portland (4.8)
  • Goose Hollow (4.8)

Photo credit: blog.gumballpoodle.com

 

9. Los Angeles, CA (4.7)

  • Downtown Los Angeles (4.9)
  • MacArthur Park (4.7)
  • Mid-City West (4.7)

Photo credit: Flickr user decipheringkate

 

10. Baltimore, MD (4.63)

  • Downtown Baltimore (4.7)
  • Jonestown (4.7)
  • Gay Street (4.6)