I thought Zillow came up with this “walk score” feature a while ago, but maybe I am wrong. There’s a separate url for walk scores, not affiliated with Zillow, to my knowledge, over at http://www.walkscore.com .
The Walk Score is supposed to indicate the desirability of a city or a neighborhood. The higher a walk score, the less likely a person is to use his or her car to run errands, which helps the environment. More walking equals a trimmer you (they claim that people who live in more walkable neighborhoods weigh seven pounds less than those who live amidst suburban sprawl). In addition, if you’re out walking around your community, the more apt you are to be involved IN that community, making it a place where you have a vested interest in keeping it clean and wholesome.
The scores in each of the major cities of the Tri-Cities, are pretty poor, I’m sorry to report; with 100 being the top score …Kennewick – 45, Richland – 43, and Pasco – 45. Richland is the only one which really surprises me because the city was originally designed to BE eminently walkable. When the U.S. government took over ownership of the city and designed the streets and built the homes and created the commercial areas, the city was laid out so any person without a car could easily run their daily errands. However, the city has long outgrown its original “downtown” area and now stretches throughout almost thirty-eight square miles!
Kennewick and Pasco both began as small towns, begun as most American small towns are – with a railroad serving as the city’s commercial center, and shops and residences lining a nearby main street (and a 1st, and a 2nd, etc.). If both of those cities had spiraled out from that center location and continued on a grid pattern with shops and houses scattered throughout, they’d both have higher Walk Scores. But Kennewick now covers 24.3 square miles, and Pasco covers 30.2 square miles. It’s pretty difficult to keep up a grid pattern over that amount of space, over years of construction and trends in demographics.
All the cities have neighborhoods within each city, which will boast a higher or lower score. My personal residence rates a 17 (is THAT why I’m still overweight??), but the office here in Kennewick is rated as “Somewhat Walkable” at 68. You can type in the address you’re curious about and get a very specific rating.