Data Byte: Making Strides Toward a More Walkable Sarasota County

Walkscore Graphic  

Is your neighborhood walkable? Do you find that you can easily walk to local businesses or grocery stores? Perhaps you are thinking about moving into a new place within Sarasota County and would like the answer to these latter questions to both be: “YES! Walking is a common mode of transportation for me.”

People of all strides of life are likely to have heard this before: location, location, location! The three Ls apply to many different situations, but the search for a home is a common one. Whether you are renting or buying, where you live is a really important factor in determining your quality of life. The “Walk Score” puts a numeric score to one’s ability to walk from place to place, measuring the walkability of a location. Walkability is a quality of life indicator linked to the domains of transportation, health, built environment, natural environment and more. The Walk Score for a given location is on a scale of 0-100.

Three of our cities in Sarasota County have received a Walk Score. The City of Venice was given a walk score of 35, which is described as “car-dependent” to the point of “few amenities within walking distance.” The City of North Port received a walk score of 58 points, which is described as “somewhat walkable” in which “some amenities are within walking distance.” The City of Sarasota received a walk score of 92 points, which is described as a “walker’s paradise” in which “daily errands do not require a car.” Some Sarasota County neighborhoods have Walk Scores, too.  When you check out your area’s Walk Score, do you agree?

The Walk Score is not only a wonderful resource for residents to search for new homes with a walk-able environment, but could also help local business owners locate a new store location that would be easy for neighbors to walk to, or help residents identify opportunities for improving their built environment. If a neighborhood has a low Walk Score because they lack grocery stores for residents to walk to, local business owners may view this as an opportunity. What Walk Score would you give your neighborhood? How would you suggest your neighborhood become more walk-able?