Enos Park area rates 68 in ‘Walkability’

Posted on 02/04/12 No Comments
The State Journal-Register
Posted Feb 04, 2012

Expect to hear a lot about a WALKABLE COMMUNITY in the next few months. Springfield, as a rule, isn’t.  We are more of a “car-dependent” city.

Members of the Sustainable Design Assistance Team pointed out the city generally is walking-challenged during an initial two-day visit last week to downtown Springfield. By extension, it is hard to get people to live downtown if a pharmacy, a clothing store or especially a supermarket is not within walking distance.

There is a website — www.walkscore.com — that rates communities, ZIP codes and even addresses on “walkability.” The scale is zero to 100. Higher is best. A score of 70 and up is given to walkable communities.  If the score is below 50, reach for the car keys. The city of Springfield scored 43.

“It’s based on proximity to a grocery store or proximity to basic social services, or to the dry-cleaner and mass transit. It takes all the factors and calculates them,” said Erin Simmons, director of design assistance for the American Institute of Architects.  AIA is providing aid to the study team. The group is scheduled to return to downtown this spring for a formal survey and to make recommendations.

“I live in the middle of (Washington) D.C., and I think I live in 94 percent walkable community,” said Simmons. “As a case in point, I drive my car once a month.”

OK, Springfield is not Washington, D.C. But some neighborhoods do much better than others. Here is a random, completely unscientific sample:

  • Downtown historic district had the highest score at 90; it was rated a “walker’s paradise.”
  • Enos Park area: 68.
  • Douglas Park neighborhood: 68.
  • Glen Aire subdivision: 60.
  • Jerome, Leland Grove and Washington Park scored 40-55.
  • Village of Southern View gets a 46.

AIA members acknowledged the scores are more fun than science, but the point is that even car-dependent cities can improve.


Read the full story at the SJ-R.com…