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Ask Adam: What’s Up With Walk Scores?

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013. Please submit follow-up questions in the comments section or via email.

Question: I’ve been noticing “walk scores” listed in the description of homes for sale lately.  Can you tell me what that is?

Walk Score assigns a numeric grade between 0 and 100 to measure how walkable a given location is. Points are awarded based on the proximity to amenities such as restaurants, coffee shops, bars, grocery stores, parks, schools, shopping and entertainment.

The scores earned are described as follows:

  • 90-100 = Walkers Paradise (daily errands do not require a car)
  • 70-89 = Very Walkable (most errands can be accomplished on foot)
  • 50-69 = Somewhat Walkable (some errands can be accomplished on foot)
  • 0-49 = Car Dependent (most errands require a car)

We can use the Arbour Realty office address in Ballston as an example (875 N. Randolph Street). It earns a Walk Score of 94. According to Walk Score, the nearest restaurant is .06 miles, the nearest grocery store is .03 miles, the nearest park is .2 miles, etc..

Home buyers are generally willing to pay more to live within a walkable community. That is one of the reasons why homes along the Orange Line in Arlington have a higher average cost per square foot than anywhere in Northern Virginia. If consumers are paying for the convenience of living in a walkable community, it makes sense to show off your Walk Score when it comes time to sell.

You can input your address here to find out what your Walk Score is:  http://www.walkscore.com/

As a convenience to buyers, we include a home’s Walk Score in every MLS listing on our website:  http://arbourrealty.com/northern-virginia-home-search/

According to Walk Score, Washington D.C. is the seventh most walkable city in the U.S. Arlington was not included in the rankings, but with its average Walk Score of 67 it would have made the top 10:

  1. New York – Walk Score: 87.6
  2. San Francisco – Walk Score: 83.9
  3. Boston – Walk Score: 79.5
  4. Philadelphia – Walk Score: 76.5
  5. Miami – Walk Score: 75.6
  6. Chicago – Walk Score: 74.8
  7. Washington DC – Walk Score: 74.1
  8. Seattle – Walk Score: 70.8
  9. Oakland – Walk Score: 66.2
  10. Baltimore – Walk Score: 66.2

The top 15 most walkable Arlington neighborhoods as listed on WalkScore.com are:

  1. Ballston – Walk Score: 93
  2. Rosslyn – Walk Score: 91
  3. Clarendon-Courthouse – Walk Score: 91
  4. Lyon Village – Walk Score: 89
  5. Colonial Village – Walk Score: 88
  6. Radnor / Ft. Myer Heights – Walk Score: 86
  7. Ashton Heights – Walk Score: 83
  8. Aurora Highlands – Walk Score: 81
  9. Buckingham – Walk Score: 78
  10. North Highlands – Walk Score: 75
  11. Buckingham – Walk Score: 74
  12. Lyon Park – Walk Score: 73
  13. Maywood – Walk Score: 73
  14. Penrose – Walk Score: 72
  15. Arlington Heights – Walk Score: 71

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

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