What’s Bedford’s “Walk Score” and Why Does it Matter?
By Kim Siebert MacPhail
According to Walk Score— a website that can be used to determine how prime the location of an apartment, home or business might be— Bedford’s town center earns a “very walkable” rank of 72. However, if you type in an address on Springs Road, near the Billerica line, the score plummets to 23; even worse, Concord Road, near the Concord line, scores a 20. Both the Springs Road and Concord Road locations’ scores mean that they are almost entirely car-dependent and errands, for the large part, cannot be done on foot.
Given the results of the Healthy Bedford Survey that listed sidewalks, trails and paths as highly–prized community assets, knowing your walk score—and working to improve it— are becoming increasingly relevant to Bedford’s quality of life.
[To see an article about the survey results, see: http://www.thebedfordcitizen.org/2013/01/21/healthy-bedford-discussion-considers-next-steps-to-quality-of-life-survey-results/ ]
Walk score categories on www.walkscore.com span from “A Walker’s Paradise” (scores of 90-100) through “Very Walkable” (70-89), ”Somewhat Walkable” (50-69) and then even more car-dependent (25-49 and 0-24.)
Personal reasons to care about walk scores, according to the website, are because those who live in walkable neighborhoods tend to weigh 6-10 pounds less than those who don’t, that they report being “happier and healthier” and that those who can—and do— walk to town amenities tend to be more involved with and connected to their communities.
Financial reasons for caring about walkability are twofold: the second biggest household expense, besides the home itself, is car ownership and each point of a location’s walk score is equal to $3,000 of a home’s value.
To see how your address ranks or to see how different towns and locations score, visit: http://www.walkscore.com/score/Bedford-Ma