A look at walkability in Birmingham (and Alabama)

12.21.2010 by André Natta · → 2 Comments

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WalkScore screenshotWalk Score‘s recent aggregation of scores for the nation’s 2,500 largest cities had us wondering just where Birmingham ranked. The site determines the “walkability” of any location based on how close it is to amenities like banks, groceries and restaurants.

We compared the city’s score (40) with those from cities that the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce visited as part of the B.I.G. trips taken between 2002-2008. They’re listed in the order that they were visited:

  • St. Louis, MO – 61 (348,366)
  • Baltimore, MD – 65 (652,670)
  • Charlotte, NC – 39 (564,023)
  • Nashville, TN – 39 (545,623)
  • Pittsburgh, PA – 67 (334,059)
  • Denver, CO – 64 (553,515)
  • Austin, TX – 51 (661,212)

It’s interesting to note that none of the cities listed above were the most walkable in their state, though they all made the top ten lists of their respective states.

Birmingham’s score left it ranked eighth out of 53. Incidentally, Homewood came in with the state’s highest walk score (55) while Moody came in last (15).

A searchable “heat map” is provided for each city. They’re based on zip codes, meaning that some sections of the city appear to be left out, though it most likely wouldn’t have affected the overall score that much.

Our1Mile logoOne of the initiatives recently undertaken by the Freshwater Land Trust as part of the Health Action Partnership initiative, Our One Mile, will probably be one of the best ways to raise the city’s (and the region’s) score up.

You can share your one mile with the project via this website well into 2011 (the login instructions are to your left on the page).

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Filed under: The City

Chris H
Chris H

Although it is a starting point, WalkScore.com has a lot of flaws. Convenience stores are regularly counted as grocery stores, for example, and the distances do not take into consideration whether or not the routes have sidewalks or other less tangible pedestrian-friendly features like neighborhood safety. That said, I am pleased to see that my old place in Southside ranks 83/100.


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