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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.

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.