Car(e) Free Los Angeles: The Wong Sans Wheels Chronicles #5– What is your Walkscore?

August 28th, 2008 → Leave a comment


Another scene from Cat Lady.

Part of switching to a low car diet, means living in neighborhoods that are compact and have everything you need within walking distance. This is why most New Yorkers and folks in San Francisco can go without cars. CNN featured this website called walkscore.com which basically takes your address and rates how good a walking neighborhood it is on a scale of 0 to 100 based on what things are in walking distance from your home.

Seinfeld’s neighborhood in Manhattan is a 100 because it is within walking distance to theaters, groceries, bookstores, libraries, gyms, churches, schools, bars and all the things you need access to in order to have a good life.

Turns out my neighborhood in West LA is an 88! And the neighborhood I grew up in, in San Francisco is a 55 because that neighborhood is actually very far from commerce. Though San Francisco overall ranks as a more friendly city to walk in than New York!

My guess is that most neighborhoods in Los Angeles along the 10 freeway rank pretty high. Because if you think about it, there really is a major boulevard with lots of commerce and business on every corner.

So why aren’t more people walking here? Why do people drive all the way to Vermont Ave or the Santa Monica Promenade to walk? Why not walk just outside your door? Why don’t we shop at the carneceria around the corner and instead drive across town to go to Trader Joes? Why don’t we get drunk at the bar four blocks away but trek to Roosterfish in Venice instead? Why do we drive to the Barnes and Nobles at Westside Pavilion instead of checking out a book at the local library?

It’s interesting to think that I pretty much never have to leave my neighborhood in Los Angeles to get the bare basics of living. In the seven years (!) I’ve lived in my apartment, I have yet to go to the Oaxacan restaurant up the block or the bar that I found out on Walkscore is only four blocks away.

The thing with Los Angeles, is that “community” is not really defined by where you live. There have been times that I identified more with the citizens of Koreatown because I was spending so much time there. There were times I’ve felt more identified with the Little Tokyo community because I was doing so much work down there and that’s where I’d meet up with friends.

Who will be my community be without a car? Where are you? Let’s push our shopping carts down to the Jewish Grocery store together!

Category: The Wong Sans Wheels Chronicles

Leave a Reply