In an interesting series on the current state of walking, Tom Vanderbilt references WalkScore, a website that tells you just how walkable your neighborhood is. I was dismayed to see quantified what I already knew to be true. My eastern Waldo neighborhood isn't particularly walkable. In fact, despite the fact that I live squarely within the more urban part of the city (as compared to the sprawled out edges of KC), my neighborhood scores a 51.
This is doubly depressing since I really like walking, and my old address in Midtown scored a much better 81. I talk with Ancillary Wife regularly about the walking being what I miss most about my old locale. But WalkScore actually provided a silver lining. It shows how close establishments of various types are by walking distance. Here are a few:
Restaurants - 0.33mi - Governor Stumpy's
Coffee - 0.79mi - The Classic Cookie
Groceries - 0.88mi - Aldi
Shopping - 0.27mi - J R Mini Mart
Entertainment - 1.53mi - John Wornall House
Banking - 0.68mi - U.S. Bank
Aside from the fact that the JR Mini-Mart isn't much of a shopping destination unless you need cigarettes or any drink that comes in a bag, this seems encouraging. I can stroll out on a Sunday morning and be at a coffee joint in about 15 minutes. On a day when I had some time to kill, I could make the full round trip to the grocery store in about an hour, and if I was insistent on doing some drinking and wanted to walk home I could make it less than 10 (as long as I wanted to stop before Stumpy's closes at 10).
And, I also have the benefit of having three places that house some of my favorite people all very short walks from home. So, the neighborhood isn't as walkable as I would like, but I am going to try and focus on the bright side. Besides I looked up the family farm where I grew up, WalkScore 0. They obviously forgot to factor in Grandma's house.