By Shank’s mare around town

The Walk Score for my residence is 53 out of a possible 100, not so great, but I bet it’s better than the score for lots of places in Austin. Enter an address and the result will be a Google-based map with various retail, dining, and service establishments, as well as parks, libraries, bookstores, and other resources, listed and located on the map (without clicking for expansion, only the first listing in each category will be shown). Some of the listings are not accurate (defunct or moved, for example, while others that do exist are just plain omitted), but a neat feature is that the distance from the address entered is shown for each location listed. A factor not taken into account is the difficulty presented to pedestrians of getting from one side to the other of such barriers as IH-35 and MoPac. It doesn’t appear that the existence or lack of sidewalks is taken into account. Just for fun, I entered the address of a friend who lives in West Lake Hills and that address had a score of 63. It would truly be a life-endangering experience to attempt to walk to any of the establishments along Bee Caves Road, one would suppose. I think it’s funny that for a walkability site, presumably of interest to those who walk, fitness and health clubs are enumerated. Public transportation is not taken into consideration; it’s all walk, walk, walk. What members of our household can’t reach under their own power, they can via several different Capital Metro routes and shuttles, all within easy walking. A short walk or ride downtown takes us to a regular cab stand or to a CarShare location. Thanks to that renewable-energy resource, human pedestrian power, along with supplemental assistance from public transportation and on occasion from taxicabs, this household has gone for months at various times doing quite nicely without a motor vehicle at all. The Worldchanging site devotes part of a recent entry to Walk Score. It’s worth remembering that there’s an Austin-specific local edition of Worldchanging.

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