Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ithaca is 95% Walkable!

...or at least our house is. We live in downtown Ithaca; I presume other neighborhoods wouldn't be nearly as walkable (which is one of the reasons we wanted to live here.)

I get this score from this is a neat little internet toy which calculates how walkable an address is (via PZ), using Google maps and a "patent pending" algorithm to crunch accessibility of various things (stores, parks, etc) into a single score on a 1 - 100 scale. Our address scored a 95, which they translate as: "Walkers' Paradise: Most errands can be accomplished on foot and many people get by without owning a car." In contrast, the house I grew up in in Cambridge, Massachusetts scored only a 69 out of 100. ("50 - 70 = Some Walkable Locations: Some stores and amenities are within walking distance, but many everyday trips still require a car.")

Now, it's true that we live in a very walkable place, particularly as small towns in the middle of nowhere* go. And you can get by without a car -- although it's a bit of a pain, frankly. The unfactored variable here is public transportation: Ithaca has a reasonably good bus system, given that it is a STinTMofN, but it's a lot harder to get to things that aren't walkable than it would be in a big city. I'd certainly think it's more important to have a car in Ithaca than in Cambridge... although we sure live nearer a grocery store now than we did when I was growing up. (Not a great grocery, store, but it's there, and it is walkable.)

Still, yay, hometown!

* Really, the middle. If you get out a map, you can (more or less) draw a circle through Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Toronto and Montreal with its center at Ithaca -- equidistant from all somewheres in the northeast.

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