America’s most walkable cities: No. 1 New York; No. 2 San Francisco; No. 8 Seattle

walkscoremap

Seattle’s Walk Score map, with the green showing the more “walkable” neighborhoods of the city.

Fewer and fewer Americans are driving these days, instead relying on public transit and their legs as a means of transportation.

This makes Walk Score’s ranking of the country’s most walkable cities and neighborhoods all the more interesting and the Seattle startup is out with its 2014 rankings today.

Walk Score — best known for placing a walkability rating of 1 to 100 on homes and businesses — crunched 10 million addresses and more than two billion walking routes to neighborhood amenities to find out which cities were most walkable.

New York City, unsurprisingly, finished first with a Walk Score of 87.6. San Francisco was second at 83.9, while Seattle cracked the top ten in eighth place.

Here’s the full list:

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

In Canada, Vancouver B.C. took the top spot with a score of 78, followed by Toronto and Montreal.

Walk Score breaks down each city by different neighborhoods. In Seattle, the most walkable areas are Downtown, Denny Triangle and Pioneer Square.

walkscoreseattle2014

Walk Score also ranks cities with a “Transit Score,” and “Bike Score.” The Transit rankings were similar to the top cities for walking, with New York first, San Francisco second and Boston third. But for “Bike Score,” Portland, Ore., ranked No. 1 overall with San Francisco and Denver following the Rose City.

Finally, the company put together a fun analysis showing the similarity of the most walkable cities with the metros that have the most venture capital financing. Based on data from The Atlantic Cities, it found that out of the top 10 most walkable cities, seven of those were also in the top 10 venture capital cities.

walkscoreVC

“The maps show that startups and people who want to work at startups prefer walkable cities,” Walk Score co-founder and CTO Matt Lerner told us.

Founded by All Star Directories creator Mike Mathieu, Walk Score secured $2 million last year from former Amazon.com CTO Shel Kaphan, former Facebook general counsel Rudy Gadre, entrepreneur Edward Yim, angel investor Geoff Entress and others. The company has seen a 50 percent growth for websites using Walk Score in the past six months.

  • John Hughes

    This is crazy. Anyone who has lived in many of those places would tell you that Montreal is orders of magnitude more walkable than Vancouver. And how are NYC and San Francisco in the same ballpark? One you can walk/metro it anywhere, the other cars are still the main method of transit.

    Walkscore – c’mmon guys? And geekwire, shouldn’t this pass the sniff test before just publishing it?

    • Tiffany

      I don’t know where you live, but where I live (Downtown) the car is definitely NOT the primary method of transit. The same thing can be said for Capitol Hill, Belltown, First Hill, and Chinatown.

      • James

        He’s talking about San Francisco.

        • Ryano

          New York is far more transit-friendly than SF. The public transit in SF is useful for a few specific corridors, but outside of that, well, good luck without a car…

    • James

      The discontinuities you note are because, IMO, Walkscore is not a good metric to evaluate a broader urban area like NYC or SF. It’s fundamentally a point in space quality of life metric: It summarizes “how much stuff can I access by foot (or whatever) from this particular location?” It does a good job summarizing this—it’ll tell you pretty well how pleasant your neighborhood is to live in.

      Thus it’s reasonable that “San Francisco” as a whole has high Walkscore ratings, since there are many great dense neighborhoods where it’s possible to get to almost any to kind of shopping or entertainment you want without a car.

      However, San Francisco as a city is horrible for a low car lifestyle, since when you try to get to work, you’ll find, as you point out, that the entire urban and regional transit system, plus the office locations chosen by most employers, all presume that anyone important will drive a single occupancy personally owned car on a daily basis.

      The Walkscore doesn’t reflect this, and so misses that a perfectly fun neighborhood isn’t really viable without a car if you can’t get to 80% of the area’s employers by transit.

      In contrast, my NYC neighborhood gets dinged a few Walkscore points for, for example, being a 15 minute walk to the nearest movie theater, but I know that any job worth taking in the urban area will be a < 45 minute train, bike, or foot trip, and I won't have to move or buy a car just because I want to change jobs.

  • NoDuh

    It’s like they think we’ve never heard of something called urban density. This is a list of the obvious.

    • Raymond Bing

      You mean if I live in the suburbs it’s not walkable!? Why didn’t anyone tell me this before I bought a house in Redmond?

  • SunnyDay

    They should factor in weather. You can really only walk in Seattle a few days out of the year! The rest are too wet, too cold, too dreary!

    • Jean_Gale

      I’ve lived here since 1974 – the only days that aren’t walkable are those horrible days over 90 degrees. Any able person can walk in the snow rain and wind that we have here. Seattle has a perfect climate for walking – rarely under 30, rarely over 90. What more could a walker ask for?

    • Matt Fisher

      What are you talking about?? I have lived all over and Seattle is the only place I’ve lived where you CAN walk all year around. The average high is 48 degrees in the coldest month of the year. Ever been to the Midwest or Northeast in January??

  • Billo

    Minneapolis is ranked #1 on that bike score list. Re-read*

  • George Lee

    Philly should be #1 in walk and bike scores and #2 in transit. Anyone who has visited Philly knows it’s a LOT MORE walkable than Manhattan.

  • Ryano

    There’s lots of walkable neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Why didn’t it crack the list?

  • Andres

    South Beach is walkable, but the rest of Miami truly isn’t. A majority of the city is plagued by sprawl and an inefficient transit system.