Cool Link of the Day: Urb-I Urban Ideas

I saw this site mentioned on the CityLab site awhile back and thought it was a very cool idea. The site highlights how cities are transforming public spaces and making car-centric areas much more pedestrian, bike and transit friendly. Since I found the site, I have been lucky enough to become a regular contributor working to help make the site even better. The great thing is that anyone can send in before and after photos from their own cities of public space transformations. Take a look: http://www.urb-i.com/ The site covers cities across the world.

Columbus has several examples that I have added, but the photos are not yet updated on the site’s map. Until they are, here is a sneak peek:

Civic Center Drive

West Town Street

Columbus Commons

Columbus Walkability 2015, and the Flaws of WalkScore

WalkScore has update its rankings and numbers for US cities in terms of walkability, transit and bikes. https://www.walkscore.com/cities-and-neighborhoods/

Columbus does not rank all that highly for walkability. Here are the 2014 and 2015 numbers for comparison. Keep in mind that this is just one site’s ranking of walkability, and any changes may not actually mean much, if anything. In Columbus’ case, many urban neighborhoods which have been feverishly building infill have inexplicably had their numbers drop over the course of the year. This seems very strange, and highly unlikely that these areas actually became less walkable.

Top 25 Most Walkable Columbus Neighborhoods, 2014 and 2015
2014                                                                          2015
1. Downtown: 86——————————————1. Necko: 86
2. Dennison Place (Short North): 85———————-2. German Village: 85
3. Italian Village (Short North): 85———————3. Weinland Park: 84
4. Weinland Park (Just northeast of Short North): 85—–4. Schumacher Place: 84
5. Indiana Forest (Northeast Campus Area): 84————5. Italian Village: 84
6. Necko (South Campus): 81——————————6. Indiana Forest: 83
7. Victorian Village (Short North): 81——————-7. Victorian Village: 80
8. Old North Columbus: 80——————————–8. Dennison Place: 80
9. Glen Echo (North Columbus): 80————————9. OSU Campus: 78
10. North Campus: 80————————————-10. Iuka Ravine: 77
11. German Village: 79———————————–11. Downtown: 77
12. Tri-Village (5th Avenue West): 79——————–12. Brewery District: 76
13. Brewery District: 78———————————13. Tri-Village: 75
14. OSU Campus: 77—————————————14. Indianola Terrace: 75
15. Iuka Ravine (North Columbus): 76———————15. Clintonville: 74
16. Clintonville: 75————————————-16. King-Lincoln: 74
17: King-Lincoln (Near East Side): 74——————–17. Old North Columbus: 73
18. Schumacher Place (Near South Side): 73—————18. Olde Towne East: 71
19. Busch (Northwest Columbus): 72———————–19. Merion Village; 71
20. Indianola Terrace (North Columbus): 71—————20. North Campus: 70
21. Merion Village: 69———————————–21. Glen Echo: 69
22. Governours Square (Bethel and Henderson): 68———22. Livingston Park North: 67
23: Harrison West (Hilltop): 67————————–23. Southern Orchards: 67
24. Old Beechwold (North Columbus): 67——————-24. Mount Vernon: 66
25. Olde Towne East: 67———————————-25. Woodland Park: 64

So why might the numbers have gone down in so many urban areas that are seeing large amounts of infill and revitalization? Well, part of the methodology used to compute the WalkScores are US Census tract population data. The most recent Census estimates had large amounts of urban tracts losing population within the urban core, even in high-growth areas like the Short North and Downtown. If these incorrect estimates were incorporated, it might appear that such areas were in decline rather than in the rapid growth they are experiencing in reality, and that associated amenities are going down as well. There’s really no other explanation. The simple fact is, however, that these areas, with perhaps some exceptions, are NOT becoming less walkable, but more. This is a classic case of garbage in, garbage out. Columbus is not a particularly walkable city overall, by any means, but this data really has to be taken with a huge grain of salt.

Overall Columbus Neighborhood Walkability Score Breakdown, 2014 and 2015
2014       2015
90-100 (Walker’s Paradise): 0——–0
70-89 (Very Walkable): 20———–20
50-69 (Somewhat Walkable): 72——-37
0-49 (Car Dependent): 120———–155

Average Columbus Walkability Score, 2014 and 2015

2014: 47
2015: 40

Bike and Transit scores did improve over 2014, but they’re unrelated to population changes and amenities, which would indicate the real movement of Columbus rather than its walkability scores.

Bike Score Neighborhood Breakdown, 2014 and 2015
2014     2015
90-100: 0———0
70-89: 14———14
50-69: 45———45
0-49: 153———153

Average Columbus Bike Score, 2014 and 2015
2014: 45
2015: 46

Transit Score Neighborhood Breakdown, 2014 and 2015
2014     2015
90-100: 0——–0
70-89: 0———0
50-69: 11——–15
0-49: 201——–197

Average Columbus Transit Score, 2014 and 2015
2014: 29
2015: 30