Confirming what many Vancouverites have long suspected, a new ranking has found Vancouver to be Canada’s most walkable city.
Vancouver (with an overall score of 78 out of 100) beat out Toronto (71), Montreal (70) and Mississauga (59) for the eco-friendly honour. While the city has been lauded before for its walkability, this may be the first time that science – provided by the new website Walk Score – has backed up the assertion.
Walk Score determines a city’s walkability by using an algorithm that factors in proximity of coffee shops, schools, parks and grocery stores in different neighbourhoods. The result is a relatively objective measure of how easy it is to get around on foot – without having to hop in a car or mass transit – in different cities. The ranking service is the brainchild by two ex-Microsoft whiz kids, who were seeking an easy, reliable way to measure how pedestrian friendly an area was.
Walk Score also ranked individual Vancouver neighbourhoods in terms of walkability. Downtown ranked first (with a score of 96 out of 100), followed closely behind by the West End (94) and Strathcona (93). Not far behind were Kitsilano and Fairview (both 89), followed by Mt. Pleasant (88) and Grandview-Woodland (86).
But the real fun of Walk Score is that you can visit the website and type in your own address to determine your home’s own walking, cycling and public transit scores. Expect to see Walk Score numbers added soon to real estate listings, as a guide for eco-conscious buyers. Interestingly, research has indicated that each Walk Score point adds $3,000 (US) to the value of a home. A Toronto public health study recently found that walkable neighbourhoods have better air quality and less overall traffic. More eyeopening still, residents of ped-friendly ‘hoods tend to have lower body weights.
In the overall North American largest city rankings provided by Walk Score, Vancouver was edged out by New York (1st), San Francisco (2nd) and Boston (3rd).
Which neighbourhoods in Vancouver do you find most walkable? Which need improvement? Let us know below.
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