"Access by proximity" is the key to eliminating car dependence. I
just discovered an on-line tool that uses Google Earth's database of
business and civic locations to create a "walkability score" for any
address in the U.S. based on its proximity to various types of
stores, parks, schools, etc. The website doesn't document their
"patent-pending algorithm" for ranking different locations* but the
overall effect is visually appealing and is a nice graphical
demonstration of what access by proximity means.
Here's the link:
I was surprised my home in Berkeley received a score of only 74 out
of 100, but then again, I do most errands by bike, not foot.
* For example, a nearby baking supply shop that happens to offer cake
decorating classes was listed in the "schools" category along with a
public elementary school slightly farther away. I don't know which
got the higher score...
Gus Yates, PG, CHg
1809 California Street
Berkeley, CA 94703