So Bailey’s Crossroads and Tysons Corner are more “walkable” than Annandale? Really? We would think none of them are particularly pedestrian friendly.
But a company called Walk Score gave Annandale a walkability rating of 50, compared with 67 for Bailey’s Crossroads and 67 for Tysons Corner.
In fact, Bailey’s Crossroads, Tysons Corner, and Arlington, also with 67, got the highest “walk scores” in Virginia. Walk score measures how easy it is to live in a community without a car, not how pleasant it is to walk there.
Here’s how other Northern Virginia communities rate on walkability: Alexandria-65, Ashburn-43, Burke-38, Centreville-41, Dale City-33, Fairfax-59, Lincolnia-51, Reston-50, and West Falls Church-53, and West Springfield-34.
Ratings of 50-69 are considered “somewhat walkable,” with some amenities within walking distance. The highest ratings, 90-100, are for communities considered “a walker’s paradise,” which means residents do not need a car for daily errands. In locations with the lowest ratings, 0-24, residents are car-dependant for almost all errands.
The walk score uses an algorithm to award points based on the distance to amenities in various categories, such as grocery stores, schools, and banks. Amenities within .25 miles receive maximum points, and no points are awarded for amenities further than one mile. Intersection density and average block length are also factored in.
The walk score doesn’t take into account such factors as sidewalks and street design, crime rates, whether destinations are clustered together, whether a person has to walk by parking lots, or whether hills or weather make walking more difficult.
According to the Walk Score website, pedestrian friendly communities are better for the environment, because fewer cars mean less pollution, and promote healthier residents. It cites a study that found the average resident of a walkable neighborhood weighs six to 10 pounds less than the average person who lives in a sprawling neighborhood. Another study touted by the group says higher walk scores translate to higher property values.