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BOOKMARKS / www.walkscore.com

Live where you can walk

June 09, 2008|Scott J. Wilson

With gas prices rising, the appeal of neighborhoods where you can easily walk to buy groceries, get coffee and dine has suddenly grown. But how do you find such neighborhoods?

Walkscore.com, launched last year, is a good starting point. Enter an address and the site will rate the neighborhood on a scale of 0 to 100 based on estimates of walkability.

The "Brady Bunch" house in North Hollywood, for example, gets a score of 80, considered "very walkable." But the Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills gets a mere 14, ranking it as being in a "driving only" neighborhood.

Walk Score rates neighborhoods based on the proximity of stores, restaurants, parks, schools, libraries and other features to an address. Along with saving gas, the site's creators note that walking helps improve health, curbs emissions of greenhouse gases and increases interaction among neighbors.

Walk Score acknowledges that the walkability ratings are imperfect; they do not consider mass transit availability, for one thing. But for someone hunting for an apartment or home, it does give a feel for a neighborhood -- without having to drive there.

-- Scott J. Wilson

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