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Cambridge was made for walking: Ranked 1st in state for pedestrians

Posted by Leslie Anderson  July 26, 2011 06:48 AM

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walkable.jpg
Essdras M Suzrez
Even a blustery day in March couldn't keep the walkers out of Harvard Square last spring.

When it comes to walkability, no sizable community in Massachusetts beats Cambridge, according to a website that measures how far residents live from amenities such as shops and restaurants.

Metropolitan Boston got top grades from Seattle-based Walkscore.com, with Cambridge finishing first with a ‘‘Walk Score’’ of 89, just one point shy of being considered a ‘‘walker’s paradise.’’

Somerville came in second at 84, Brookline third at 83, and Boston itself fourth at 79. To find your town's walkability score, go here.

Walkscore.com rates a community’s accessibility for walkers by calculating how far each block is from schools, parks, and shopping, and averaging the distances.

In a list of the nation’s largest cities, New York won the prize as most walkable, with San Francisco and Boston nipping at the Big Apple’s heels.

The website, which began in 2007, now proclaims it can assess the walkability of any address in the United States.

“In our city rankings, we take the Walk Score of every block and average it out across the city,” said Matt Lerner, co-founder of Walk Score. “A lot of sites just have a panel of people who express their opinions. This is all based on qualitative data which makes it possible to compare cities in different parts in the country.’’

While none of the 72 Massachusetts communities ranked by Walk Score qualified as a ‘‘walker’s paradise,’’ nine were rated ‘‘very walkable,’’ including Watertown, Salem, and Malden.

Cities and towns that fell into the ‘‘somewhat walkable’’ category include Arlington, Medford, Belmont, Waltham, Quincy, Newton, Beverly, Melrose, Norwood, Dedham, Dedham, Marblehead, Framingham, Wellesley, and Peabody.

Communities considered ‘‘car dependent’’ included Danvers, Braintree, Needham, Milton, Burlington, and Lexington.

Tied in last place for walkability were Agawam, Franklin, and Wilmington.

Derek McLean can be reached at dbmclean1@gmail.com.

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