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.