Walkable Communities

It could be the rising cost of gas. Or an indifferent attitude about owning a car. Or just having the ability to walk to the store for a loaf of bread. But according to a recent survey by the National Association of REALTORS, more than 50 percent of Americans would prefer to live in a “walkable” neighborhood.

What makes a neighborhood walkable? According to Walk Score, it’s the ability to walk to amenities from any given location and how long that walk would take from a home address. A five minute walk to the grocery store would get a “maximum” score. Anything that needs more than 30 minutes to walk to would get no score.

What counts as an amenity? Just about anything, really. Some big ticket items are grocery stores, employment, schools, medical care, and parks. Beyond that, shopping, restaurants, bars, and other forms of entertainment are taken into consideration. Many of the respondents to the REALTOR survey indicated interest in a smaller home if it was closer to shops and restaurants.

Using information from Google, the U.S. Census and other online tools, as well as data from their community members, Walk Score is able rank states, towns, and neighborhoods by how walkable they are. Seattle was the top Washington city with a score of 73. Portland, OR, has a walkable score of 65.

While Clark County cities as a whole don’t fare that well, there are certain neighborhoods that mark extremely well. Areas in the Hough, Esther Short and Arnada neighborhoods ranked anywhere from 71 to 91. Which is to be expected as these neighborhoods are close to the downtown core and Uptown Village parts of Vancouver.

Areas to the east also fared well according to Walk Score. Areas of the Cascade Highlands neighborhood came in at 80 and homes close to downtown Camas ranked in the 70’s. To see how walkable your address is, go to www.walkscore.com.

Clark County City Walkable Scores (according to walkscore.com):


  • Woodland: 61
  • Washougal: 54
  • La Center: 44
  • Vancouver: 41
  • Hazel Dell: 41
  • Battle Ground: 33
  • Salmon Creek: 29
  • Five Corners: 27
  • Camas: 18
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