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Charlotte & Walkscore


ChiefJoJo

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Walkscore just released their updated rankings of the top 40 US metro areas in terms of walkability. Unfortunately, Charlotte ranks 38th of 40. Of course that doesn't mean walkscore is the end-all-be-all analysis of walkability, nor does it mean there aren't a number of walkable neighborhoods (mostly close-in). I do think it shows there's still a long way to go towards improving citywide walkability. Of course it can be done, slowly but surely through mixed use redevelopment, new roadway connections, and building out the transit corridors.

To find your neighborhood's rating, just click on the above link and either look at your neighborhood's composite score or enter your address to see the results.

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My neighborhood rates VERY low (16). I live off of Mallard Creek Rd. between WT Harris and Sugar Creek, and the majority of that road is not very walkable. In fact, I've never walked on it past the nearest bus stops. Part of the road near Sugar Creek has a sidewalk, but most of the stretch to WT Harris doesn't. The road is narrow and in some spots pretty much impossible to walk along the side without having to actually get IN the road, yet I still see people doing it, even at night. If the Derita commuter rail station is going to work, the roads are going to have to be upgraded around the area, including making Mallard Creek between Sugar Creek and WT Harris pedestrian & bike friendly, and making Sugar Creek pedestrian and bike friendly, especially between Nevin Rd. and Graham St. They recently finished a section of Nevin between Sugar Creek and Mallard Creek and it includes nice sidewalks and bike lanes. The bus stop on Sugar Creek just south of Mallard Creek (across from the post office) is very busy, yet there are no sidewalks to it or benches and people usually end up having to sit or stand IN the train tracks.

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I guess my address belongs to their "Provincetown" neighborhood, which has a score of 37 -- which is 83rd out of 151 neighborhoods in Charlotte.

My specific address is a whopping 42. Although looking at the details makes it obvious how data-dependent this whole thing is. The nearest restaurant is listed as "Charlotte Prime", whatever that is, listed in the middle of the next subdivision over from mine. The nearest schools are a "Kids R Kids" daycare and a "US Tae Kwon Do" place. And the nearest theater is not a theater. And many other problems.

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My patch of Dilworth rated an 88. I guess my proximity to East Blvd helped. East has it pluses and minuses but overall it would be great if we had more throughfares like it in town. The stretch between Scott and Kings&Queens especially thrives with pedestrians and has a great vibe on nice evenings.

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Great find! 4th Ward is an amazingly walkable neighborhood; especially, for the car dependent South. I drove 38 miles last month and only got in my car twice. It doesn't list 4th ward park or even the cemetery (Settler's not Elmwood as I don't like to get shived in the kidney). Interesting that Mint Hill's walkability score doubled that Huntersville. Perhaps if the train comes through Huntersville then it may become more walkable due to increased density...

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My address in Cotswold scored a 57. Not great, but certainly not bad either. And they're missing lots of data on my area.

While I don't question the fact that Charlotte isn't the most walkable city in America, I do question their algorithm. How in God's name does Phoenix rate higher than Charlotte in walkability?!

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I haven't seen this mentioned elsewhere: In related news, Google Maps has added Walking Directions.

According to them: "Starting today [Jul 22], you can tell Google Maps that you want walking directions, and we'll try to find you a route that's direct, flat, and uses pedestrian pathways when we know about them."

I routed from my house to a nearby retail center, and it showed 2.1 miles (6 minutes). I then clicked the "Walking" link and it actually changed the route I should take -- now 2.2 miles (44 minutes). Very interesting. I find it hard to believe they have info on pedestrian pathways in my area, so I'm guessing it must be the flat-ness or the direct-ness that tips the walking directions to the slightly longer route.

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I warned you all walkscore isn't perfect, but it provides an order of magnitude rating for a city and neighborhoods that I think is more correct than not. If I were visiting an area and wanted to know what activities were nearby, I might use it that way.

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