Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Walking in Boone

Just how walkable is Boone? Many college towns like Boone have piles of students and faculty walking and biking around their community because it is frankly just easier than trying to find a place to park. But how easy is it to do other things on foot? Can you buy groceries or pick up dinner as a pedestrian? Using, we evaluated the "potential" walkability for each neighborhood and major residential area in Boone.

According to their web site "Walk Score helps people find walkable places to live. Walk Score calculates the walkability of an address by locating nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc. Walk Score measures how easy it is to live a car-lite lifestyle—not how pretty the area is for walking."

The Walk Score is a number between 0 and 100. Here are general guidelines for interpreting the score:
90–100 = Walkers' Paradise: Most errands can be accomplished on foot and many people get by without owning a car.
70–89 = Very Walkable: It's possible to get by without owning a car.
50–69 = Somewhat Walkable: Some stores and amenities are within walking distance, but many everyday trips still require a bike, public transportation, or car.
25–49 = Car-Dependent: Only a few destinations are within easy walking range. For most errands, driving or public transportation is a must.
0–24 = Car-Dependent (Driving Only): Virtually no neighborhood destinations within walking range. You can walk from your house to your car!

The results may surprise you. Download the Boone Walkscore Map here. In fact, a number of in-town neighborhoods scored remarkably well, but there is a big footnote to add. As noted above, Walkscore uses an algorithm that gathers information from Google Earth's extensive inventory of places such as churches, schools, restaurants, and shopping areas. We call these destinations. But, what this score does not incorporate to is the journey. It only looks at how far you live from goods and services (destinations) as the crow flies and does not evaluate the site conditions - the presence of a sidewalk or the area's topography - from point A to point B.

So is this map still useful? Absolutely! We contend that this map can serve as the basis for future pedestrian improvements by prioritizing where the Town will get the biggest bang for their buck. A sidewalk inventory is being completed by the Town and will be overlaid with this information to show us where the gaps are. Then, Boone can begin to make investments in areas with the highest potential pedestrian activity.

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Blogger Adrian said...

I agree with you that many areas of Boone are within a crow's flight from many necessary basic services, and that a sidewalk overlay will assist in a more thorough understanding of the walkability of Boone. However, I would suggest another overlay of "blockages" such as intersections that are particularly unfriendly to peds.

October 1, 2008 at 6:48 PM  

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