How walkable is your neighborhood?
A website called Walk Score has measured the 'walkability' of thousands of neighborhoods and cities. How do three major Arkansas college campuses measure up?
Monday, November 22, 2010 - 17:49
HOW EASY IS IT?: Walk Score allows us to measure how easy it is or isn't to walk rather than drive. (Photo: bradleygee/Flickr)
On Nov. 22, Jonathan Hiskes, staff-writer for Grist.org posted an article about new features introduced by a website called Walk Score. This was my first time to be introduced to the site. Walk Score basically tells you how easy it is to get around a chosen city or neighborhood only by foot. "Walk-score measures how easy it is live a car-lite lifestyle."
Walk Score currently has about 2,500 cities and over 6,000 neighborhoods listed on its site. Type in an address or a city and, if listed, you'll be able to see all amenities located within a certain radius of your search. You'll also be given a walk score, or a number out of 100 that quantifies the "walkability" of your location. It breaks down like this:
- 100-90: Walker's Paradise
- 89-70: Very Walkable
- 69-50: Somewhat Walkable
- 49-25: Car-dependent
- 25-0: Car-dependent
While you can take a look at this website on your own and search for your personal location, to make it more applicable to the state of Arkansas as a whole, I thought I would look at three major college campuses located in the state. This will show a comparison amongst the campuses as well as their respective cities.
• University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR: This campus is given a walk score of 71 and is classified as very walkable. The city of Fayetteville has an average walk score of 49. The majority of amenities are located directly in or around campus. Very few locations outside of the campus are considered within walking distance.
• University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR: This campus is given a walk score of 62, or somewhat walkable. On average, the city of Conway is classified as car-dependent. As shown by the amenities map, the majority of the marked locations are clustered around the campus itself. This likely allows the UCA campus to make it into the somewhat walkable category.
• Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, AR: The ASU campus is given a walk score of 40, or car-dependent. It is given the lowest classification of the campuses I have listed. However, as with Fayetteville and Conway, the city of Jonesboro received a lower average walk score than the campus. Amenities are still located close to campus but, overall, there are fewer places of interest.
The walk scores of the three college campuses I have listed tell a great deal about the progress of not only the colleges themselves, but their cities and regions. Fayetteville is located in the most progressive and fastest-growing part of the state. It makes sense for the walk scores of the college campus and city to be the highest of those listed. Out of the three, Jonesboro, the least-centralized and most sprawled, is the only one considered car-dependent. Conway lies somewhere in the middle. While the city's infrastructure is still lacking, there has been work to build around the UCA campus.