Jul 29, 2014
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Is Davis Walkable Enough?

Dixon and Woodland are considered more walker-friendly communities than Davis, according to findings released this week.

Is Davis Walkable Enough?

Apparently, it's average.

That’s right. Davis has average walkability, at least compared to other cities in California.

The city received a walkability score of 50 in a study conducted by an organization called Walk Score, which released its findings Wednesday. That's exactly the median score for cities in California. 

Davis’s score is eight points higher than Vacaville, but two points fewer than Dixon. As for the rest of Yolo County: West Sacramento got a 41 and Woodland got a 53. Winters wasn’t in the study.

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Walk Score aims to promote walkable neighborhoods as a solution for the environment, personal health and economic vitality. Scores are determined based on amenities such as grocery stores, restaurants, schools, parks, public transit, and more. 

“With rising gas prices, Americans are looking for alternatives to long commutes and driving around town to complete their errands,” said Walk Score CEO Josh Herst in a release. “America’s most walkable cities and neighborhoods make it easy for residents to leave their cars at home more often. The latest real estate trends show that homes and apartments in walkable areas are in higher demand and are worth more than their less-walkable counterparts.”

While Davis’s score may not be low, it's not high either. Some found it a bit shocking, partly because of the bike-friendly reputation and the centrally located downtown and university.  

“That’s surprising,” said Eve West, a vocal coach who has lived in Davis for more than 25 years. “I walk downtown everyday.”

West is originally from Holland, where she says people walk everywhere; many don’t even own cars. West even has a bumper sticker on her vehicle that says, “My other car is a pair of boots.”

Another community member outside the Co-op suggested that although the score seems low, one deterrent to walking in Davis is 5th Street, which is increasingly busy and not easily crossable on foot. He said it serves as a barrier that divides some residences from downtown.

Walk Score’s goal is to get "walkability" added to property listings, so that people can easily evaluate walkability and transportation of a home when choosing where to live.

“An American family living in a house that is accessible only by car is spending on average 25 percent of their income on cars,” said Christopher Leinberger, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. “Households in walkable communities spend less than half that amount, putting more money in their pockets.”

Check out a full list of California cities at this website. You can also vote on what cities you think are the most walkable.

Here are the Top 10 large cities in the country, in terms of walkability. 

  • New York
  • San Francisco
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Philadelphia
  • Seattle
  • Washington, DC
  • Miami
  • Minneapolis
  • Oakland

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