Walking in Georgetown

This week, Slate is running a series by Tom Vanderbilt on the state of walking in the U.S. Yesterday, Vanderbilt looked into the much-discussed Walk Score rating. What this is is a algorithmic that looks are various factors that improve the walkability of a particular location. For instance, how many coffee shops can you walk to? How many grocery stores? What transit can you walk to? Close by entertainment & restaurants, etc.?

So what is Georgetown’s Walk-Score? 89, or “very walkable”

This only puts Georgetown as the 19th most walkable neighborhood in DC. This doesn’t strike GM as quite accurate. One thing holding Georgetown back is that the northwest corner of Georgetown (i.e. the University, particularly around the hospital) has a pretty bad rating, relative to the rest of the neighborhood. For instance, the 4000 block of Reservoir Rd. has a rating of 78, which is still “very walkable” but is pretty low for central DC. On the other hand, the 3200 block of M St. has a perfect score of 100.

There are some caveats to this whole program. When listing what groceries are near 3200 M St., the site lists some actual grocery stores like Sarah’s and Dean and Deluca, but it also lists Georgetown Cupcake and something called Stone Soup Films, which GM can only assume is a film production company that happens to have offices in Georgetown.

It still provides a pretty good thumbnail sketch of which neighborhoods can you walk around and actually get something done. But for GM the only score that matters for letting you know how walkable Georgetown is is 510. That’s the number of stores, restaurants, bars, salons, etc. in Georgetown all of which are within a 5-10 minute walk of each other.

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5 Comments

Filed under Transportation

5 responses to “Walking in Georgetown

  1. The demand for walking and supply of sidewalk space in G’town is clearly out of whack.

  2. Dizzy

    One thing holding Georgetown back is that the northwest corner of Georgetown (i.e. the University, particularly around the hospital) has a pretty bad rating, relative to the rest of the neighborhood. For instance, the 4000 block of Reservoir Rd. has a rating of 78, which is still “very walkable” but is pretty low for central DC. On the other hand, the 3200 block of M St. has a perfect score of 100.

    Errr…might I humbly suggest that what is “holding Georgetown back” in this metric is not the University but the single-use residential areas? Take that 4000 block of Reservoir – all of the nearest amenities (Capital One Bank, Vital Vittles, Epicurean, Starbucks, Subway, and ones that are not included like Cosi or the hospital caf) are all on campus. The “village in the city” of Burleith has… Duke Ellington and a D2 stop.

    Similarly, 3041-3085 R St NW also has a Walk Score of 78. It’s a function of being farther away from the commercially zoned main drags and being surrounded by SFHs and parks, not the University.

  3. jacquer

    This definitely shows the need (and potential) for more corner retail throughout the neighborhood. It seems like the #1 factor behind the score for different parts of Georgetown is distance from M and (parts of Wisconsin).

  4. BS

    Distance to a grocery store is a major walkability disadvantage for most of Georgetown.

  5. Pingback: The Hill is Home | Nosy Neighbors | The Hill is Home

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