I sigh not because I do not enjoy walking, but because all this “walkable” talk is so annoying in our climate right now. Oh, I know we have had a really mild summer — last week we would have sat outside in the evening had it not been for the mosquitoes and West Nile.. Really, who walks when it’s 100 degrees outside? Do these walk-enthusiasts not understand that hair frizzes, clothing gets drenched, blisters are created in sweaty flip flops and overall walking is not the most pleasant of experiences come July, August and most of September in Dallas? Then there are the mosquitos! Walking is the best way to get around in New York City, but during the sweltering August I spent there two years ago, it was tortuous. And I avoided it as much as I could, then hit the air-conditioned gym.
So Dallas ranked as the 30th most walkable city in the United States, by Walk Score, a really neat site that started a few years back, measures a neighborhood’s walkability rating, among other things. Walking is great — people who live in walkable places weigh 6 to 10 pounds less, according to Walk Score. A score of 47, which we got, is not so hot. But it’s better than a score of 0 to 24, where almost everything is butt-expanding car dependent. A score of 50 to 69 would have been better, meaning that some errands can be accomplished on foot. 70 to 89 is super walkable, and 90 to 100 just rocks as a walker’s paradise. I could not find any large cities with scores higher than 90. New York City was first, with a walk score of 85, followed by San Francisco, 85, Boston, 79 and Chicago, 74. I will hasten to add that Chicago is the total opposite of Dallas come December, January and February: freeze your butt if you walk during those months unless you are wearing major cover. And I do mean major.
Most of the high-scoring walkable cities were up north, with the exception of Miami, score 73.
Next, Zip Realty zipped in to narrow the focus even more, and offered up the three most walkable neighborhoods in Dallas. They are University Park, Highland Park, and Addison.
What does University Park and Highland Park have that the rest of Dallas lacks? Sidewalks. Moment I moved to Dallas, I asked, where are the sidewalks? North Dallas does not have many. South Dallas has way more, like this photo from the Kings Highway Conservation District Conservation program shows:
Of course the Park Cities, with some of the priciest real estate in town, would rate higher because they have dang sidewalks! In my ‘hood, you walk in the street and move over in terror to someone’s driveway or right of way when a Suburban comes tearing out like a bat out of you-know-what.
As for Addison, doesn’t surprise me at all. Nice little residential area springing up around Addison Circle with great planning, condos, restaurants and stores and everyone’s walking. Don’t believe me, ask Carol Blair who is selling real estate up there like crazy.