If you want to combine green living with wellness, one of the best things you can do is choose a walkable neighbourhood. Areas with high walkability scores are easy to get around on foot, whether you’re taking the kids to school, buying groceries, visiting the playground, heading out for a quick bite to eat or attending storytime at the local library. In a city like Vancouver where parking can be expensive and hard-to-find in some neighbourhoods, the ability to leave the car at home (or ditch it altogether) is a major plus. The good news is that according to WalkScore.com, Vancouver is Canada’s most walkable city. With a score of 78 we fit in between the number three (Boston) and number four (Philadelphia) cities in the US.
Vancouver’s Most Walkable Neighbourhoods
According to the website, Vancouver’s most walkable neighbourhood is the downtown core, which has a score of 96. The West End comes in second with a score of 94 and Strathcona comes in third, with a score of 93. There are neighbourhoods throughout Vancouver that are highly walkable, though. Even the suburbs have very walkable neighbourhoods, like North Vancouver’s Lower Lonsdale and Burnaby’s Metrotown, which both clock in at around 95. Even Port Moody, Surrey and Richmond have some very walkable neighbourhoods. It’s not necessary to move to Yaletown to travel on foot – although it is a great place to do just that.
How do you tell how walkable a neighbourhood is? You can head to WalkScore.com and enter your address – or the address of a house or apartment you’re looking at – to get a walkability score. The scores are ranked out of 100, where higher is better. A score of 90 and higher is categorized as a Walker’s Paradise, a score of 70-89 is categorized as Very Walkable and a score of 50-69 is categorized as Somewhat Walkable. You can also take a look around for some of the same things that the site looks for, which include schools, restaurants, bars, shopping, coffee, parks and entertainment, among other things.
Walkability for Moms
While a website is a great starting point, you’re going to be the ultimate authority on what makes your neighbourhood walkable (or not), because you know what kinds of businesses and services you visit frequently. If you have small kids being close to a bar may be less important than being close to a park or library. Ditto for being close to a kid-friendly restaurant rather than a hot date night spot. That’s why it’s important to use your own judgment in deciding just how walkable a prospective neighbourhood is.
See you on the sidewalk!
Amber Strocel is a writer, aspiring math teacher, suburbanite, wife and mom of two. She believes in the power of the Internet to connect people, and she believes that numbers are the poetry of the universe. You can often find her knitting, sewing, volunteering, working in her garden, and sneaking chocolate when no one's looking. She blogs at Strocel.com and shares her photos on Instagram as @AmberStrocel.