SF named most walkable city in the U.S.

July 17, 2008 7:19:15 PM PDT
A Web site that scores the nation's major cities on how easy it is for pedestrians to walk around has placed San Francisco at the top of the list.

An international Web site has called San Francisco the most convenient U.S. city for residents to run errands on foot, but a local group say that does not mean it's the most pedestrian-friendly.

The Web site, www.walkscore.com, rated 40 of the nation's biggest cities by calculating how far residences are from amenities such as schools and grocery stores. New York placed second and Boston placed third. However it did not attribute safety, topography or aesthetics.

"We think of it as a ranking for the potential to live car-less," said Mike Mathieu who is the founder of the company that developed Walk Score.

Mathieu said the rankings are mainly for real estate providers, so buyers can check out the "walkability" of any neighborhood in the U.S., the U.K. and Canada before they buy. He said crime statistics and topography can already be found on the Internet and Walk Score addresses an issue that is hard to find.

San Francisco received 86 points out of 100 for foot-access to resources.

But a local pedestrian advocacy group coordinator said if other factors were included, she would give San Francisco a solid "C."

Walk San Francisco Project Coordinator Susan King said traffic is severely congested, giving pedestrians a difficult time.

From aggressive drivers to awkward bus stops, she said the city streets are not what she would consider walkable.

"There's still a lot to be done around here to make it a truly 'walkable' city," King said. "When you try to balance everyone's needs without a freeway, that's where it gets complicated."


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