Rachel Musiker

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The Nation’s Most-Walkable Cities Got Even More Walkable in 2016

Reposted from Redfin.com.

New York remains the nation’s most walkable city in the latest ranking by Walk Score®, a Redfin company. Walk Score ranked the most walkable U.S. cities with populations of more than 300,000.

Rank City Walk Score Change from 2015
1 New York, NY 88.9 +1.3
2 San Francisco, CA 85.7 +1.7
3 Boston, MA 80.1 +1.2
4 Philadelphia, PA 78.3 +1.7
5 Miami, FL 78.2 +2.6
6 Chicago, IL 77.5 +2.7
7 Washington, D.C. 77.0 +2.9
8 Seattle, WA 72.9 +2.1
9 Oakland, CA 71.5 +3
10 Long Beach, CA 69.0 +3.2

Long Beach edged out Baltimore (68.7) to bring some SoCal spirit to this year’s ranking. The Southern California region was unrepresented on the top 10 list each of the past two years. Long Beach also had the largest yearly increase of all 10 cities, up 3.2 points, helping it rank among the most walkable cities in the nation.

“Recognizing Long Beach as the most walkable city in Southern California, and one of the most walkable in the entire country, is a testament to the hard work we’ve been doing to improve and expand pedestrian infrastructure and support safe and convenient travel for everyone,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. “We intend to continue making Long Beach a great place to walk and to live, work and visit.”

“A renaissance has been happening in Downtown Long Beach, which now has a Walk Score of 92,” said Redfin agent Michelle Zabukovec. “In addition to some brand new buildings, developers are rehabilitating structures that were already in place. The city has even created an incentive program for rehabilitation projects, and has also focused on improving walkability by adding more pedestrian lighting to create safer sidewalks. One example of this is the Pine Avenue Improvement Project. And of course everyone loves First Fridays on Atlantic Ave. and 2nd Street in Belmont Shore.”

All of the top 10 cities saw an increase in their respective Walk Score ratings, indicating that the nation’s most walkable cities are becoming even more walkable. Of the top 50 most walkable cities, only two, Honolulu and Columbus, improved by less than a point.

“Improving a city’s Walk Score takes work. In these communities, construction crews have built an invitation for walking,” said Eric Scharnhorst, livability analyst at Redfin. “Safer sidewalks are now connected to a greater variety of everyday amenities. This creates opportunities for both local businesses and families.“

Omaha, which ranked 32nd, had the largest year-over-year Walk Score increase of the 50 most walkable cities, with an improvement of 4.3 points. With a Walk Score of 45.4, the city is still considered “car dependent,” but many neighborhoods saw big gains in their ratings.

“This improvement in Omaha’s Walk Score is likely thanks to revitalization projects underway in neighborhoods across the city,” said Redfin real estate agent Travis Thomas. “Notable areas of development include Downtown, Blackstone and Aksarben Village where developers have been creating a mix of residential and commercial real estate and rehabilitating older buildings.This efficient use of space and resources means that people can live, work and shop on the same block.”

Six additional cities that ranked among the top 50 most walkable cities saw notable increases in their scores from last year. St. Louis, Missouri, Denver, Colorado, Aurora, Colorado, Santa Ana, California, as well as Austin and Houston in Texas, all saw a Walk Score increase of four points or more.

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The 10 Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Texas

Reposted from Redfin.com. 

Texas may not have a reputation for walkability, with its wide open spaces and 800 miles of land between its northern and southern borders, but there are actually many densely populated, highly walkable neighborhoods throughout the state. But which city has the most walkable neighborhoods? Is it Austin, with its burgeoning Millennial cohort, densely populated Dallas or the expansive city of Houston?

According to our calculations based on Walk Score data, Dallas is the big winner when it comes to walkability. Not only did Downtown Dallas nab our number one spot for the most walkable neighborhood in the state with an 89 out of 100 Walk Score, but Dallas also tied for the most neighborhoods to make the top 10 list, with a total of three neighborhoods. Austin came in a close second place to Dallas, with three neighborhoods in the top 10 list, including the number two and three slots.

Which cities didn’t fare so well? Houston, San Antonio and El Paso, which made the bottom slots of our list, and Fort Worth, which didn’t make an appearance at all.

To see the full list and how the neighborhoods shake out, take a look at our findings below, which rank neighborhoods based on their Walk Score ratings and our own agents’ local insights. Do the winners surprise you? Leave a comment! And to see how your hometown or neighborhood stacks up, head over to WalkScore.com.

1. Downtown Dallas – Walk Score 89

Downtown Dallas tops our list of the best neighborhoods in Texas for pedestrians with a Walk Score rating of 89. Residents living in the many high-rise condos enjoy easy access to centrally located jobs, cultural opportunities in the museum district and the popular Klyde Warren Park.

“Downtown Dallas is continuing to grow and develop into a top-tier urban destination,” said Redfin agent Bob Plessinger. “Our city has seen incredible growth over the last decade, especially from out-of-state buyers looking to escape sky-high prices in places like San Francisco. Many of these buyers purchase homes downtown because they know they’ll be able to quickly familiarize themselves with the city and all it has to offer, even without a car. They can walk across Klyde Warren Park and tour Oak Lawn/Uptown, or they can walk any other direction and access excellent restaurants and bars.”

2. Downtown Austin – Walk Score 88

Recent efforts by the City of Austin through programs like the Great Streets project have made Downtown Austin one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Texas. Public spaces along the roadways, updated sidewalks, ample lighting for night-time activities and streetside cafes give residents safe, easy access to the heart of the city.

“There has been a huge push to make Downtown a more livable place,” said Lauren Johnson, an agent with Redfin. “Many cities have downtowns that stay busy and vibrant during the day, but once 5 p.m. hits people pack up and go home. Austin’s downtown, however, is full of people through the evening because they have access to a huge variety of interesting places to eat, drink or shop. If you live in one of the many condos downtown, you’ll be in the center of it all.”

3. West Campus, Austin – Walk Score 87

West Campus is aptly named for its location directly west of the University of Texas. Since most of the neighborhood’s 15,000 are college students without cars, the neighborhood is highly walkable. You’ll find many small craftsman bungalows built in the 40s, a swath of decade-old condos and a recent influx of brand new apartment buildings.

“Not surprisingly, this neighborhood is densely populated with students. They really have everything they need within walking distance – they can run or exercise along the Shoal Creek Greenbelt, study for finals at one of the many coffee shops or go out to one of the local bars on a Friday night, and when they land an internship downtown they’re just a short commute away,” said Lauren Johnson.

4. Oak Lawn, Dallas – Walk Score 86

Walk across Klyde Warren Park on the north side of Downtown Dallas and you’ll be in Oak Lawn/Uptown. This neighborhood has a bustling retail corridor and a slew of new restaurants and eateries. It also has all the necessary amenities like grocery stores, gas stations and the like. Residents can easily access downtown jobs, but can remain somewhat separated from the dense urban core.

“There is a huge variety of homes in Oak Lawn — for example, you can get a mid-rise condo with expansive city views, or you could move farther north to Turtle Creek and get a small rambler,” said Bob Plessinger. “Property values in Oak Lawn run the gamut as well, anywhere from $350 per square foot to $1,800 per square foot, so the neighborhood is accessible to all types of homebuyers.”

5. Midtown, Houston – Walk Score 82

Houston dwarfs its fellow Texas cities in size and population, but it’s not known for its walkability. Most Houstonians will tell you that their main method of transportation is a car, but there are certainly pockets within the I-610 Loop where walking is a viable way to get around. Midtown is one of those neighborhoods. It is close enough to downtown that residents can walk to work, yet it is full of its own local hang-outs, restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops and bars.

“Residents living in Midtown can walk to downtown or hop on the rail line and quickly get across the city and catch a sporting event at BBVA Compass Stadium, Minute Maid Park or Toyota Center, but one of the best things about Midtown is that it has its own vibrant scene,” said Redfin agent Irma Jalifi. “Locals really don’t need to leave the area for fun or entertainment – it’s a one-stop-shop with plenty of options within walking distance for nightlife or running quick errands on a weekend.”

6. Knox/Henderson, Dallas – Walk Score 81

Knox/Henderson is farther from Downtown Dallas, but still within a reasonable commute time for residents with inner-city jobs. This area is undergoing stunning growth as residents flood to the area and developers rush to meet their demand.

“Many Dallas neighborhoods have older, classic homes, but Knox/Henderson is seeing an inflow of new, modern townhomes and condos, in styles that typically appeal more to out-of-state buyers,” said Bob Plessinger. “More restaurants and shops are cropping up as new residents arrive in the neighborhood, so I expect that this neighborhood’s walk score will continue to improve over time.”

7. Downtown San Antonio – Walk Score 81

Downtown San Antonio has all of the typical attractions of an urban core — retail shops and businesses, restaurants and cultural happenings — but the River Walk is the real draw for pedestrians. The lined pathway sits one story below street level and stretches from downtown to Mission Espada, with pet-friendly bars and lively restaurants, as well as more tranquil sections without businesses all along the way.

While the river walk is certainly a tourist attraction, local residents make use of it, too. “The river walk is an especially popular destination for local families and their kids,” said Erin Pierce, a real estate agent with Redfin. “The majority of the homes nearby are condos and lofts, and a lot of new developments are coming into the area. The river walk creates a nice change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the downtown streets.”

8. East Austin – Walk Score 81

East Austin has been on the rise in recent years as new developments make their way to the neighborhood. Many developers are replacing older homes with more modern structures, but some residents still favor the 30s and 40s style and opt for heavy renovations that keep the charm and personality of the home in-tact. The variety in home styles, coupled with the neighborhood’s close proximity to downtown (it’s just on the East side of I-35), draw in all types of homebuyers.

“This neighborhood is increasingly popular with my customers,” said Lauren Johnson. “One of the most important things to my buyers is finding a home that fits their unique style, and the variety in structures in East Austin provides that. One of the other important things for my buyers is a high Walk Score, and this neighborhood is full of interesting shops, bars, restaurants, stores and public spaces in close proximity to the quiet residential streets.”

9. Neartown/Montrose, Houston – Walk Score 80

Neartown/Montrose is one of Houston’s older, more colorful neighborhoods. You’ll find a mix of home styles from ultra-modern to 1920s craftsman, and a mix of residents to match. Young professionals working downtown can live in Neartown/Montrose and manage an easy commute, students attending the University of St. Thomas are within striking distance of campus and golfers are a short drive from Hermann Park Golf Course.

“Everything you need is really within walking distance here,” said Irma Jalifi. “There are several parks, including dog parks, all along the Buffalo Bayou Trail, fun restaurants and bars on and just off of Westheimer Road, and a plethora of boutiques, shops and convenience stores scattered throughout. This is also one of Houston’s more laid-back neighborhoods — the quiet streets make it feel very far from the noise and activity of downtown, yet it’s just a short commute away.”

10. Virginia, El Paso – Walk Score 78

The Virginia neighborhood of El Paso isn’t known for its bustling night life or active daytime scene, but it is still a highly walkable neighborhood for its 1,100 residents. Running along the north border of I-10, Virginia is a narrow strip (just two blocks wide) of older homes and the occasional mom-and-pop shop. Locals can get most of their shopping done within walking distance, and are just a short distance from businesses and attractions downtown.

“Residents on the southwestern end of the Virginia neighborhood are just a short walk away from some of downtown’s main attractions, like the convention center, the El Paso Museum of History and the El Paso Museum of Art, while residents on the northeastern side are within walking distance to El Paso High School, Tom Lea Park and the city’s main hospitals,” said Redfin agent Maggie Garcia. “If you want to live in quiet residential neighborhood that also has access to the more lively areas of town, Virginia is a good bet.”

Walk Score Methodology: Walk Score analyzes hundreds of walking routes to nearby amenities to determine a neighborhood’s Walk Score, which is a number between 0 and 100.  Points are awarded based on the distance to amenities in each category. Amenities within a 5 minute walk (.25 miles) are given maximum points. A decay function is used to give points to more distant amenities, with no points given after a 30 minute walk. Walk Score also measures pedestrian friendliness by analyzing population density and road metrics such as block length and intersection density.

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Redfin Presents Opportunity Score at White House Open Data Event

Reposted from Redfin.com.

Today, Redfin joins with the White House to announce Opportunity Score, a data-driven tool based on Walk Score®that will help Americans find housing with easy access to jobs. Watch the Expanding Opportunity with Open Data event here.

We’re excited to participate and talk about Redfin’s Opportunity Score, which we’re designing to help Americans find a house or apartment within a 30-minute commute of work, even for someone who doesn’t own a car.

Today’s event is the culmination of a fast-paced, collaborative hackathon launched by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Participants included developers, data scientists and engineers from the private and non-profit sectors as well as subject-matter experts across a variety of disciplines. Redfin’s Eric Scharnhorst led Opportunity Score’s design based on Walk Score infrastructure.

“We applaud the administration for bringing the technology community to the table to talk about economic mobility in America,” Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson said. “We’re hopeful that Opportunity Score and other tools born of this initiative can help people make informed decisions about where they live and give more families the opportunity to thrive.”

Economic mobility isn’t always determined by skill, education or luck. Your ZIP code can play a role, too. Opportunity Score identifies neighborhoods within a 30-minute walk, bike ride or transit trip to employment centers where jobs pay $40,000 a year or more.

The tool includes information about the price of housing. Combining White House opportunity data, Redfin data on home sales and rentals, and mobility data from Walk Score and Transit Score, Opportunity Score can pinpoint housing within easy reach of job centers or opportunities for employment within easy reach of home.

“Affordability is a growing challenge, one we see first hand as a real estate brokerage helping people buy and sell homes,” Richardson said. “But the price of a home or the cost of rent is only part of the equation. People want a home where they can have a reasonable commute to work, participate in the community and access opportunities that can provide a better future for their children.”

Opportunity Score is still in development as we build our prototype to scale. Watch this space for updates or emailpress@redfin.com to learn more.

At Redfin, we’re passionate about harnessing data and embracing technology to educate consumers and make buying and selling a home easier. We measure homebuyer demand, pinpoint the best day to market a home, and predict which houses will sell quickly, information that helps our customers and informs the broader housing market.

Opportunity Score will join our existing arsenal of tools, including Walk Score and Transit Score, to empower the public and help people understand what it’s like to live in a particular neighborhood. Combined, these tools can help people make choices that can have great impact on quality of life and long-term outcomes for their families.

When the government and private sector join forces to harness and mine big data, we can build great things.

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Why You Should Buy the Cheapest Home on the Best Block

Reposted from Redfin.com.

I bet you think buying an affordable city home requires a sacrifice: the neighborhood will have a low Walk Score and the highly rated schools will be out of reach.

Not necessarily. Some affordable homes are in city neighborhoods near highly rated schools and within walking distance to everyday amenities. But there’s a catch. To find them, you’ll need to search in neighborhoods that have plenty of expensive homes in them, too.

Here’s why: neighborhoods with a mix of home prices are three times more likely to be walkable and have highly rated schools than are purely affordable neighborhoods.

Even when compared with purely high-end neighborhoods, home to the highest-rated schools, neighborhoods with a mix of home prices are the most likely to have it all: a high Walk Score and schools with above-average ratings.

Median Walk Score, GreatSchools Ranking for Different Types of Neighborhoods

Neighborhood Home Price Mix Median Neighborhood Walk Score Median Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable 54 4.1
Balanced-Mix 70 5.1
High-End 57 6.9

The problem is that areas with a balanced mix of home prices cover just 13 percent of major U.S. cities. We looked at the 20 most populous cities Redfin serves and identified these neighborhoods in the fall because communities with a wide range of incomes, and by association, home prices, give families a better shot at getting ahead.

But are these actually the kinds of places where most people would want to live? After affordability, homebuyers’ top two demands are good schools and walkability. So we ranked the 170 balanced-mix and affordable neighborhoods by their Walk Scores and GreatSchools school ratings and found that only 24, or 14 percent, actually meet those common demands. Here they are:

Top 24 Affordable and Balanced Mix Neighborhoods Ranked by Walk Score and GreatSchools Score

Rank Neighborhood Home Price Mix Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
1 University District, Seattle Balanced 91 7.8
2 West End, Washington, DC Balanced 95 6.5
3 Adams Morgan / Kalorama Heights / Lanier Heights, Washington, DC Balanced 94 6.5
4 Queen Anne, Seattle Balanced 80 7.4
5 Ravenna, Seattle Balanced 74 7.7
6 Rosedale, Austin Balanced 69 8.1
7 International District, Seattle Affordable 97 5.2
8 Columbia Heights, Washington, DC Balanced 93 5.5
9 Fulton River District, Chicago Balanced 92 5.2
10 Hillcrest, San Diego Balanced 80 6.3
11 Banker’s Hill San Diego Balanced 84 5.8
12 Zilker, Austin Balanced 64 7.6
13 Westmoreland / Montrose, Houston Balanced 83 5.6
14 Platt Park, Denver Balanced 75 6.3
15 Eastlake, Seattle Balanced 69 6.8
16 Windsor Square, Phoenix Balanced 74 6.2
17 Victory Heights, Seattle Affordable 64 7.0
18 Rolando / SDSU, San Diego Affordable 74 5.9
19 Columbia City, Seattle Affordable 80 5.2
20 Bouldin Creek, Austin Balanced 75 5.4
21 West Highland, Denver Balanced 74 5.1
22 Highland, Austin Affordable 63 6.1
23 El Cerrito, San Diego Affordable 65 5.8
24 Schorsch Village, Chicago Affordable 68 5.2

Only eight of the original 20 cities from our last report have a neighborhood on the list. Not a single neighborhood in Boston made the cut, even though Boston topped the list in our last report for having the most area covered by a balanced mix of home prices. These neighborhoods are walkable, but the schools have below-average ratings.

So, what’s going on here? There just aren’t enough of these kinds of neighborhoods for everyone who’s looking for an affordable home. It’s one reason we’re asking policymakers to loosen restrictions on building in Seattle and other cities so that more integrated housing can be developed and more people can live in these types of neighborhoods.

Take Los Angeles, for example.

“Homebuyers have to pay a significant premium to live in a neighborhood with highly rated schools and amenities,” said Redfin agent Nikki Kilmer. “Although there are technically some neighborhoods in L.A. that could be considered affordable, there’s not much demand to live in those areas.”

If you are looking for an affordable home, your instinct might be to search in affordable neighborhoods. But if you also want highly rated schools and a high Walk Score, look for the least-expensive home in one of the mixed-priced neighborhoods on this list. This is a lot like grandpa’s strategy to make a safe real estate investment, “buy the cheapest home on the best block.”

Check out the table below to see how the affordable and mixed-price neighborhoods in your city stack up in terms of walkability and school scores. Click here to download a spreadsheet complete with the Walk Score, average GreatSchools rating and median sale price for each neighborhood analyzed in this report series.

The Top Affordable and Balanced Mix Neighborhoods in 20 Cities by Walk Score and GreatSchools Ranking

Austin Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Highland 63 6.1
Balanced Mix Rosedale 69 8.1
Baltimore Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Brewer’s Hill 90 1.8
Balanced Mix Otterbein 90 1.7
Boston Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Jones Hill /
Uphams Corner
85 3.6
Balanced Mix Hyde
Square
88 3.6
Chicago Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Schorsch
Village
68 5.2
Balanced Mix Fulton River District 92 5.5
Columbus Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Misty Meadows 48 7.9
Balanced Mix German Village 86 1.9
Denver Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Score
Affordable Cole 75 3
Balanced Mix Platt Park 75 6.3
Detroit Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Sherwood Forest 68 4.1
Balanced Mix South
University Village
92 4.4
Houston Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood Greatschools Rating
Affordable Sagemont 39 6
Balanced Mix Westmoreland 83 5.6
Indianapolis Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Augusta
Heights
42 4.5
Balanced Mix Downtown Indianapolis 76 4.9
Jacksonville Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Southwood 36 5.2
Balanced Mix Isle of
Palms
17 6.4
Los Angeles Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable South Los Angeles 68 4.1
Balanced Mix
Memphis Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Binghampton-Lester 55 4
Balanced Mix Central
Gardens
60 4
Philadelphia Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Castor Gardens 77 3.7
Balanced Mix Olde City 97 4.6
Phoenix Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Estrella Northwest 42 6
Balanced Mix Kierland 52 9.1
San Antonio Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Timber Ridge 39 5.4
Balanced Mix Alamo Plaza 79 4.7
San Diego Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Rolando 74 5.9
Balanced Mix Hillcrest 80 6.3
San Francisco Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Hunters Point 43 5.4
Balanced Mix Visitacion
Valley
62 5.2
San Jose Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Downtown 82 4.2
Balanced Mix
Seattle Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable International District 97 5.2
Balanced Mix University District 91 7.8
Washington, D.C. Neighborhood Walk Score Neighborhood GreatSchools Rating
Affordable Lamond-Riggs 70 4.4
Balanced Mix West End 95 6.5

Method and Data
We used home sale price data from Redfin from July 2013 through June 2015. City-specific median family income came from the 2014 one-year American Community Survey.

To define affordability in each city, we kept it simple: A home was considered affordable if 28 percent of the local median family income could cover the monthly mortgage and principal payment, assuming the buyer put 20 percent down and took out a 30-year loan with a four percent interest rate. Homes with sale prices 20 percent above that threshold were considered expensive.

To get the price mix of different areas, we summarized the price of recently sold homes in a 500-meter grid. Affordable areas had at least three affordable homes for every expensive home. Areas with a balanced mix of home prices had a ratio of affordable to expensive homes between 0.33 and 3.0. High-end areas had at least three expensive homes for every affordable home.

We considered a neighborhood “walkable” if it had a Walk Score of 60 or higher. Read more about the Walk Score methodology here. An above average GreatSchools score meant 5 or above. Read more about the GreatSchools methodology here.

 

New York Ranks Best City for Public Transit in 2016

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Transit Score Now Available for 350 U.S. Cities and More Than 10,000 Neighborhoods Across the Country

New York is the best city for public transit in the U.S., according to the 2016 Transit Score ranking. New York’s Transit Score increased 2.9 points to 84.1 from 81.2 in the last published ranking in 2014. We describe an address, neighborhood or city with a Transit Score of between 70 and 89 as having excellent transit, and a place scoring between 90 and 100 as a “rider’s paradise.”

In September, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) celebrated the first addition to New York City’s subway system in 26 years with the extension of the 7 line to the new 34th St.-Hudson Yards Station, connecting riders to the Javits Center, the High Line, the Hudson River Park and surrounding commercial and residential developments.

Below is a ranking of the top 10 U.S. cities (with populations of more than 300,000) for public transit.

Rank City Transit Score
1 New York, NY 84.1
2 San Francisco, CA 80.4
3 Boston, MA 74.4
4 Washington, DC 70.6
5 Philadelphia, PA 66.8
6 Chicago, IL 64.7
7 Miami, FL 59.4
8 Baltimore, MD 57.8
9 Minneapolis, MN 57.5
10 Seattle, WA 57.0

“Urban dwellers today want convenience,” said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson. “Particularly in congested urban areas, a car may be the slowest way to get around the city. Homes near bus and subway lines tend to have higher values that hold up even during housing downturns. The fact that many cities are also investing in alternative forms of transit, like bike share, indicates how highly prized access to transit is by their residents.”

With the addition of 130 new U.S. cities and more than 3,000 new neighborhoods, Transit Score ratings are now available for 350 cities and more than 10,000  neighborhoods. Among the newly added cities are big ones like Phoenix (32.2) and Detroit (37.9), as well as smaller cities with big Transit Score ratings like Union City, NJ (80.2) and State College, PA (63.7). For a full ranking of U.S. cities by Transit Score, click here.

“After schools, access to public transportation is what New Jersey homebuyers ask about most frequently,” said Nick Boniakowski, Redfin market manager. “We spend a lot of time with our clients researching nearby bus and rail routes and stops, so being able to easily see that Union City, for example, has a higher Transit Score than pricier Jersey City (70) gives buyers another easy way to compare and evaluate homes, neighborhoods and cities.”

None of the cities on the list score in the rider’s paradise range, from 90 to 100. However, individual neighborhoods in many cities are riders’ paradises, like Boston’s Bay Village (100), Philadelphia’s Logan Square (100), The Loop (99.1) in Chicago and Belltown (98.1) in Seattle. Some cities that didn’t make the top 10 list are home to riders’ paradises, including downtown Pittsburgh (97.1), Old Town Chinatown (92.2) in Portland, OR and downtown Houston (92.8).

Old Town Chinatown has basically every kind of public transportation imaginable, including a streetcar that zips around town (and is free of charge), the MAX light rail, a high-speed train that connects to a variety of suburbs and the airport, as well as a new Greyhound bus line and the Amtrak station,” said Redfin agent Megan Ronning. “Homebuyers in the greater Portland area are very drawn to the accessibility of its downtown neighborhoods and even the surrounding suburbs.”

To see how your home, neighborhood or city stacks up, search walkscore.com or Redfin.com.

Methodology
The Transit Score algorithm calculates a score by summing the relative usefulness of public transit (bus, subway, light rail, ferry, etc.) routes near a given location. Usefulness is defined as the distance to the nearest stop on the route, the frequency of the route, and type of route (with twice as much weight given to heavy/light rail than to bus service). Transit Score is based on data published in General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) format by transit agencies across the country. For a more details on the Transit Score methodology, click here.

Minneapolis Tops San Francisco, Portland as Most Bikeable City of 2015

Bike Score Now Available for More Than 150 U.S. Cities

Minneapolis is the most bikeable city in the U.S. in 2015. With a Bike Score of 81.3, Minneapolis has a strong lead over San Francisco (75.1) and Portland (72.0).

In celebration of National Bike Month, we’ve updated and expanded our Bike Score ranking to a total of 154 U.S. cities and more than 10,000 neighborhoods. Below we rank the 20 most bikeable cities with populations of 300,000 or more.

Bike Score Ranking of Large U.S. Cities

Rank City Bike Score
1 Minneapolis, MN 81.3
2 San Francisco, CA 75.1
3 Portland, OR 72.0
4 Denver, CO 71.3
5 Boston, MA 70.3
6 Chicago, IL 70.2
7 Washington, D.C. 69.5
8 Sacramento, CA 68.9
9 Tucson, AZ 67.9
10 Philadelphia, PA 67.5
11 Long Beach, CA 66.4
12 New York, NY 65.1
13 Seattle, WA 63.0
14 Oakland, CA 60.9
15 Aurora, CO 60.8
16 New Orleans, LA 60.1
17 Miami, FL 59.7
18 Albuquerque, NM 59.6
19 Mesa, AZ 58.5
20 Santa Ana, CA 57.1

“Biking is central to the healthy Minneapolis lifestyle and to a lot of people’s decisions about where to live in and around the city,” said James Garry, a Redfin agent and avid biker in Minneapolis. “In the past year, several of my clients have chosen to buy smaller houses in South Minneapolis rather than larger, similarly priced ones in the suburbs, simply so they could bike to work during the week and around Lake Harriet on weekends.”

Most Bikeable Cities of 2015

More Bike Scores!

A handful of smaller cities didn’t make the list but deserve recognition. All college towns, they boast some of the country’s highest Bike Scores:

Bike Score’s expansion means people now will be able to search for bikeable places to live (and visit) in more than 30 new cities, including Providence, RI (66.9), Baltimore (56.1), Detroit (55.0) and Fort Lauderdale (53.6). Many thanks to the local government officials in the newly added cities for providing the data used to compute the scores.

Better Infrastructure, Better Bike Scores

Thanks to investments in infrastructure such as protected bike lanes and networks of bike paths, several cities saw big increases in their Bike Scores since the 2013 ranking. On average, cities that ranked in the top 20 saw an increase of more than two Bike Score points. Chicago’s Bike Score increased by almost nine full points, from 61.5 in 2013 to 70.2 today. In the past two years, the Chicago Department of Transportation has launched and grown the Divvy bike share system and expanded its on-street bike network to include more than 225 miles of bike lanes and routes. Expect the city’s score to climb in the next five years as Mayor Emanuel’s Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 includes completion of a 645-mile network of on-street bikeways by 2020. Many Chicagoans are already considering bike-friendliness when choosing a place to live.

“Many of my clients don’t own cars,” said Clayton Jirak, a Redfin agent and cycling proponent in Chicago. “They search for condo buildings with dedicated, secure bike rooms in proximity to bike lanes and major trails around Chicago. Our diverse transportation options have made Chicagoans less auto-centric and created a more bike-friendly city.”

In San Francisco too, cyclists have seen more protected bike lanes added over the past couple years, reflected in a five-point Bike Score increase from 70.0 in 2013 to 75.1 today. And there are more to come, as the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) last month announced its commitment to start construction on more than 24 miles of bike infrastructure improvements.

Looking for a good place to ride a bike? Click here for our complete ranking of more than 150 cities and 10,000 neighborhoods. If you’re looking to move to a more bikeable place, Redfin offers Bike Score information about homes for sale across the U.S. Renters can search apartments by commute time on Walk Score and find places to live within an easy bike ride to work.

Methodology
Bike Score measures whether a location is good and safe for biking on a scale from 0 – 100 based on four equally weighted components:

  • Bike lanes
  • Hills
  • Destinations and road connectivity
  • Share of local workers’ commutes traveled by bicycle

2015 Ranking of Most Walkable Cities

New York Ranks No. 1 and Increases Lead Over San Francisco; Revitalization is Pushing Detroit and New Orleans Up the Ranks

New York, the nation’s most walkable city, has increased its lead over No. 2 San Francisco in our 2015 ranking of the most walkable cities. The two cities essentially tied for first place in 2011. We ranked the most walkable U.S. cities with populations of more than 300,000.

Walk Score Ranking of Large U.S. Cities

Rank City Walk Score
1 New York 87.6
2 San Francisco 83.9
3 Boston 79.5
4 Philadelphia 76.5
5 Miami 75.6
6 Chicago 74.8
7 Washington D.C. 74.1
8 Seattle 70.8
9 Oakland 68.5
10 Baltimore 66.2

“New York is clearly leading the way in walkability by reclaiming space from cars for people,” said Matt Lerner, Walk Score co-founder. “One look at Times Square shows how New York has become a leader. It’s just one example of a place that went from being a gridlocked road full of cars to a park for pedestrians.”

High Line Park

Other Highlights:
Miami is becoming more walkable, with a Walk Score increase of more than three points since 2011, likely thanks to a surge of commercial development. New home construction has increased population density in some neighborhoods and made it easier for people to live, work and shop in the same part of town.

“People can now walk where they used to have to drive, especially in neighborhoods like Wynwood and the Design District where a lot of new restaurants and shopping and entertainment centers have opened up,” said Aaron Drucker, Redfin’s Miami market manager. “Even in traditionally walkable areas, like South Beach, public transportation is improving and becoming a more attractive option as parking rates and traffic are both on the rise.”

Detroit has seen a 2.2-point Walk Score increase since 2011 to 52.2 this year.

Downtown Detroit has become noticeably more walkable over the past few years thanks to Dan Gilbert’s initiative to move his company, Quicken Loans, and others from the suburbs back to the heart of the city,” said Lauren Buttazzoni, Redfin market manager in Detroit. “Following these companies has come a slew of new restaurants, locally owned shops and small businesses. It’s not just millennials but families and people of all generations who want to live near work and enjoy the action and amenities of city living. As a result, real estate in the city is in great demand, new lofts and condos are being built, and prices–in rents and sales alike–are rising. It has all been a great boon for the motor city.”

New Orleans has changed, too, as the city continues to reinvent itself following Hurricane Katrina. The city is rebuilding with walkability in mind as it develops affordable housing and revitalizes commercial districts, which may have helped the city’s Walk Score increase from 55.6 in 2011 to 56.3 today.

Methodology
To calculate the rankings, we analyzed over 10 million locations and computed more than 2 billion walking routes for 2,500 U.S. cities. For the second year in a row, the Walk Score ranking uses the Street Smart Walk Score algorithm that incorporates walking routes, depth of choice, pedestrian friendliness, population  and neighborhood data. The changes in scores between the 2011 and 2015 rankings reflect changes in methodology (Classic Walk Score vs. Street Smart Walk Score) as well as changes in the cities themselves.

For the full ranking of America’s most walkable cities, click here. To see how your home fares in terms of walkability, get your score here. If you’re looking to buy, Redfin features Walk Score on listings of homes for sale. Renters can use Walk Score’s Apartment Search.