Seriously, is Walk Score the coolest urban web site on the planet?
First they revolutionized the way people look at the walkability in their city with Walk Score. Then they applied that work to housing and revolutionized the way people look for a place to live. If they stopped there, most people would probably have considered them a huge success, but they kept going. They released Transit Score and Bike Score (see our previous story about Bike Score here).
Now, they have a new interactive tool—ChoiceMaps—that allows you to quickly see how many options for desirable and necessary destinations each neighborhood has. This is where the role of landuse starts to have a big effect on the walkability (and bikeability) of an area. Because being a short walk from one restaurant doesn’t mean a whole lot: It could suck or maybe you can only eat falafel so many times a week. But being within a short walk from five restaurants? That’s a lot more variety and, well, choice!
And, because they are Seattle-based, we are lucky enough to be one of the first cities where the service is available (see more about the release via the Walk Score blog).
Right now, ChoiceMaps does not take bikes into consideration, but you can imagine that having a bike let’s you move the slider further to the right and still have that many destinations within a very short trip. And that’s why bikes and (boring but extremely important) land use policy go hand-in-hand.
Play around with ChoiceMaps and report back any observations.