"Everywhere is Walking Distance if You Have The Time"
-- Steven Wright, American comedian
The problem is these days people don't have the time. Gone are the days of walking 4 miles uphill both ways to school. Nowadays, parents pack the kids in the car and drive them the quarter mile door to door to drop them off to 2nd grade. We're increasingly dependent upon our cars, even moreso the further out from a city we decide to live.
As people tire of the expenses and hassles of commuting and having to hop in the car for everyday errands and to just to grab a bite to eat, walkability has become a more important criteria for neighborhood home searches in Northern Virginia and Washington D.C.
Maybe you want to be close to the Metro, close to stores and restaurants, and leave the car at home after a long work week of commuting to the office.
While determining where you want to live in the Metro D.C. area, you should visit the Walk Score Website. This site was developed out of the need for homeowners to calculate the convenience of homes to stores, restaurants, work and other quality aspects of a neighborhood.
Walk Score can range from 1 to 100 depending on the proximity of the address to grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, movie theaters, schools, parks, libraries, bookstores, fitness centers, drug stores, and other amenities.
The Walk Score website describes what makes a neighborhood walkable:
- A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a discernable center, whether it's a shopping district, a main street, or a public space.
- Density: The neighborhood is compact enough for local businesses to flourish and for public transportation to run frequently.
- Mixed income, mixed use: Housing is provided for everyone who works in the neighborhood: young and old, singles and families, rich and poor. Businesses and residences are located near each other.
- Parks and public space: There are plenty of public places to gather and play.
- Pedestrian-centric design: Buildings are placed close to the street to cater to foot traffic, with parking lots relegated to the back.
- Nearby schools and workplaces: Schools and workplaces are close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.
Washington D.C. was ranked the 7th Most Walkable City. Click here to view the Walk Scores of various D.C. Neighborhoods.
Here's a screenshot of the WalkScore results and map for a home I sold in Old Town Alexandria last year:
Try it for yourself while looking at different home locations:
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