Victoria is taking a bow as the third most walkable city in Canada. Being No. 1 is a goal worth striving for.
The study by Walk Score puts Westmount, Que., at the top of the list of Canadian cities, with a score of 79.3, followed by Vancouver at 78 and Victoria at 77.7.
The advocacy organization has a different take on “walkability” than most people would assume from glancing at the term.
They’re not talking about pretty places to go for a walk. In fact, climate and beautiful scenery don’t matter at all. That’s why Saanich scores 51, the same as Edmonton, and Metchosin rates only 30.
Walk Score was looking for communities where it’s easy to get around without a car. It plots a grid of points about 500 feet apart in every city and uses a complicated algorithm to look at census data, how long the blocks are, where people live, where buses stop and how far away amenities are. Its goal is to have a walkability score for every address in a city, so people looking for houses or apartments would have another element to factor into their decisions.
It used all its scores to rank cities and neighbourhoods in North America.
Communities where residents can walk easily to shops, libraries and elsewhere are more comfortable and healthier. A study like this reminds us of things to look for in our neighbourhoods, and how we want our cities to grow.
Still, there is no substitute for the human touch. Walk Score lists 335 “Walker’s Paradise” neighbourhoods in North America. Only three from Victoria make the list: Harris Green is No. 27, downtown rates 55th and North Park ranks 252nd.
Clearly, the computer’s vision of “paradise” could use some adjustment — or Walk Score could send someone out for a walk.
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