What’s WalkScore and how does the Upper East and West Side stand up?

by | Feb 19, 2020

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If you like to keep up on the latest real estate trends, then you may have heard about Walk Score. However, even if you do have some idea of what Walk Score is, you may not be fully aware of how they function and what kind of impact they can have on the real estate market. As real estate experts, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of this relatively novel application and show the kind of influence it could have on your real estate search.

What is Walk Score

At its most basic, Walk Score is a company that offers a publicly available walkability index that provides a score to any address in the United States, Canada, and Australia. First established in 2007, their mission is to promote walkable neighborhoods that are good for the environment, community health, and the economy. They provide over 4 million walkability scores to thousands of participating websites, and these scores can be assigned to a specific address or area. They also maintain a list of the most walkable cities in the country.

How Does Walk Score Work

The main service Walk Score provides is the walk score that they’re named after. This score is based on an efficiency model that has been designed to consider location efficiency that gives points based on the closest amenity in a number of different categories. The categories include amenities like parks, schools, businesses, and transportation. The basis for the idea is that the simplest way to know how easy it is to live everyday life in an area is to see how close the things you would need to go to are, because the number of nearby amenities is the best way to predict whether or not people will walk. Basically it works like this: if the closest business is within a quarter of a mile, the location gets the maximum number of points, and this number of points decreases as the walking distance to the amenity gets closer to one mile. No points are given for any amenity that’s more than one mile away. Every category of amenity is weighed equally and the total points for the location are then summarized in a simple score from 0 to 100.

How Important is Walk Score

With the ever-growing changes in attitudes towards environmentally-friendly modes of transportation, more and more people are ditching their cars. This means that the walkability of a neighborhood and the proximity of public transportation to a location are becoming even more important factors to real estate shoppers. Not only is Walk Score a good reflection of the ease of living in a home if you’re looking to buy, but it also can be beneficial whenever it comes time to sell the property. In metropolitan areas, homes with higher Walk Scores had anywhere from a $5,000 to $30,000 increase in price compared to similar properties.

Manhattan Walk Score

It shouldn’t be too surprising to learn that New York City is one of the best cities when it comes to walkability, thanks to our subway system and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods. However, the Walk Scores of specific boroughs can still vary. So how do the Upper East Side and Upper West Side fare? Both perform very well, with slight advantages for each neighborhood. The Upper West Side performed slightly better overall with a Walk Score of 98, a Transit Score of 99, and a Bike Score of 83, while the Upper East Side had a Walk Score of 99, a Transit Score of 99, and a Bike Score of 81. It’s clear that while both neighborhoods have relative weaknesses when it comes to biking, they are nearly perfect overall when it comes to walkability. But you don’t need Walk Score to know that, come to a showing…

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