Is our neighborhood walkable? Only ‘somewhat’

That’s according to the website Walk Score, which rates cities and neighborhoods on their walkability. Its algorithm takes into account how far people have to walk to reach the nearest amenities — coffee shops, restaurants, grocery stores, theaters and the like. Heat maps give a visual depiction, with green being the most walkable and red being the least.

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Dallas has a rating of 47, and in Walk Score’s rankings, that makes it “car dependent.” No real surprise there. The score makes it the 30th most walkable city in the United States. (Slate has a story on the five most and least walkable U.S. cities.)

Walk Score also breaks cities down into walkable neighborhoods. Downtown, Uptown and Oak Lawn areas top the list in Dallas, and Oak Cliff ranks 9th, making it only “somewhat walkable.” That was a bit surprising to me, but if you look at the map, there’s a bright green circle emanating from the Bishop Arts District. The intersection of Bishop and Davis has a score of 89, “very walkable.”

Of course, the area Walk Score considers Oak Cliff only accounts for a portion of our neighborhood. The area it calls Winnetka Heights (which is west of the actual Winnetka Heights, go figure) is the 20th most walkable neighborhood in Dallas with a score of 41, making it “car dependent.” The southernmost portion of our neighborhood is lumped into a large swath called Southwest Dallas, an area broader than Councilman Scott Griggs’ District 3. It’s also pretty low on Dallas’ walkable list, No. 24, and considered “car dependent.”

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Walk Score’s disclaimer is that it doesn’t take into account factors such as street design, safety from crime and accidents, or topography. Slate also has an interesting story on the software engineers behind Walk Score, its embrace by Realtors and urban planners, and whether Americans actually care about walkability.

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