Archive for the ‘Walk Score’ Category.

walk score

While walking to the bus this morning I was thinking about the tag game that Fat Cyclist started.

I was wondering what kind of questions I’d want to ask the world. It probably sounds strange given the other 99% of content on this blog, but I am much more passionate about good neighborhoods than good bicycles.

My neighborhood (Roosevelt, a long thin neighborhood sandwhiched in between Green Lake and Ravenna in Seattle) was recently recognized by WalkScore as one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Seattle. I had forgotten about WalkScore until our neighborhood association got excited about this recognition. The tool itself is too simplistic because it doesn’t have any way to rank the quality of what one can walk to. A 7-11 and a Safeway and a Whole Foods are all grocery stores in it’s mind. McDonalds counts as food, even though I would never eat there.

This got me thinking though. What do I like about my neighborhood?

The Good

Whole Foods is 3 blocks away. I’m not entirely a Whole Foods fan, but they do sell the kinds of food that I eat at good prices. Having a good grocery store 3 blocks away means that I can stop by almost every day and am almost always eating fresh food instead of stuff that has been sitting in my kitchen for a week. I routinely realize that I’m missing something that would make a good meal great and quickly run over while other stuff is cooking. I can’t imagine living far away from a grocery store.

In the same vein the University District Farmer’s Market is 13 blocks away. I think this is the best of Seattle’s wonderful farmer’s market. It isn’t padded out with crafts and soap and things that don’t matter, it just has great local, mostly organic, food. It went year round a couple of years ago. I visit 2-3 times per month and in the summer almost all of our produce comes from the market.

Since I’ve moved here the number of places to eat breakfast have grown. I like eating breakfast out. The newest additions are Cowen Park Grocery and the Racer Cafe. Cowen Park Grocery used to be a cheap beer and cigarettes type of store, but a few years ago they completely renovated it. The new CPG has a great little cafe with good healthy food anda nice staff.Best of all much of my neighborhood is eating breakfast there on weekends, so showing up on a Sunday morning always gives me a chance to chat with some neighbors that I haven’t seen in a while. Racer Cafe is a little more greasy and gritty but the staff has a great sense of humor. It’s tiny and the kitchen is next to the bar and it feels like you are eating in someone’s living room. Since it is a tiny place everyone sits together and chats. It’s a fun place. We also have the Sunlight Cafe (good vegetarian food), Varsity (greasier than CPG, less so than the Racer) and others that I’m forgetting.

A direct bus to work is 5 blocks away and only has 3 stops to where I get off.

Third Place Books moved in about 4 years ago and has been a great addition. They have a nice pub downstairs and a great selection of new and used books upstairs.

Scarecrow Video has to be the best video store in the country and they are less than a mile away. They have a larger video selection than Netflix,a good staff,cheap rentals (2 for 1 if you are a KEXP member). We spend lots of money there. If I lived anywhere else I’d probably join Netflix, but as long as Scarecrow is close by I’m going to be renting exclusively from them.

We have a great park only a block away. Cowen Park/Ravenna Park (I don’t understand why one park has two names) has nice walking trails, a good play ground, and nice fields. My favorite thing is that most of the park is in a deep ravene and in the trails in that bottom it’s hard to remember that you are in the city.

The Bad

I wish we had a hardware store a little closer to the house. Normally I go to the Maple Leaf Ace Hardware which is a great store but about 35 blocks up hill. It’s an easy bike ride, but I’d love for it to be closer. Downhill I can go to the University District True Value (the closest one within walking distance) and Hardwick’s (which has the best hand tool selection of any hardware store that I’ve been to). 2 blocks away is R&R Hardware, but it is owned and run by our neighborhood slum lords who hire dangerous people.

It’s too far from work, and a no-bikes bridge prevents me from easily biking the whole route every day.

We have great public transit access to everywhere but Seattle Center. It irk’s me to drive to music festivals.

Amazingly (because Seattle seems to have Thai food everywhere) there is not good Thai food very close by. We go to Krittika which is3 blocks from our old house and 13 from the current one. Royal Palm is close to us and used to be okay, but it’s recently gone downhill.

The Map

I took a map of our neighborhood and drew dots on the places that we frequent. There are tons more commercial establishments within walking distance (especially along Roosevelt and 65th), these are just the ones that we go to at least monthly.

Not too shabby, especially for a neighborhood with mostly seperated houses. I should finish up by saying that Christine and I really wanted to live here. I think our real estate agent thought we were crazy when gave them a 6 block area that we wanted to buy a house in.

What do you like and dislike about your neighborhood? What would be the ideal one for you? What stuff do you like to have within walking distance (nothing is a reasonable answer if you prefer to live away from civilization)?