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What’s Bedford’s “Walk Score” and Why Does it Matter?

2013 February 4
by The Bedford Citizen

By Kim Siebert MacPhail

Image (c) Legacy2030.com

Image (c) Legacy2030.com

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

  • Jack Donohue

    Even though I live on the wrong side of town walk-wise (the dreaded Springs Road), it’s quite easy for me to get to town by bike ~ 3 miles, even on a rail trail if I want to. With a bike, I can easily carry stuff, lot easier than schlepping stuff home in a backpack.

  • Suzy Enos

    We looked at the walk score of every house when we were searching. They don’t yet count bike paths, but have committed to eventually.

  • Diane

    You hit that one right on the money Kim. Realtors have seen an increase in interest and often value in neighborhoods near the center of town. I’ve found that walkability can dramatically improve a home’s appeal. Even if people don’t actually walk to anything they like having the option to do so, and everyone loves having a sidewalk for safety and convenient access.
    Diane C Hughes

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