The Source and my friend Katie Matchett's blog, Where the Sidewalk Starts, report that WalkScore, the non-profit that introduced the idea of assigning a numerical value to a neighborhood's pedestrian-friendliness, has introduced an effort to do something similar for measuring a neighborhood's transit-friendliness. TransitScore, as it is called, has been launched in 40 cities around the country, including Los Angeles. I decided to give it a spin.
Firstly, I started with my neighborhood in Santa Monica, which is near downtown Santa Monica and the Big Blue Bus's hub. But TransitScore did not extend to adjacent LA suburbs, so all I saw was that my neighborhood has a WalkScore of 91. (And as it should -- I pay a significant premium in rent to live in a ped-friendly area, near not one but four pizza joints. Boo-ya.)
Next, I checked out the score for Weyburn Terrace, the 1,350 bed graduate student housing community just west of Westwood Village. (Some BeAGreenCommuter readers may recall that I lived there as a grad student.) The WalkScore is 86, which aligns with my impressions of living there.
However, the Public Transit Score was just 61. While a 61 still connotes "Good Transit", the site reports there are just 7 nearby bus routes. My guess is that TransitScore draws its data from Google Transit. Since only Metro is on Google Transit in Westwood, none of routes operated by the five municipal transit agencies serving the area were counted. Otherwise, the score might be much higher.
I still contend that Westwood -- particularly Westwood Village and the area south of Wilshire -- is probably one of the best areas to live if you want to go car-free in the LA metro area, as I did for two years. The transit access (16 bus routes) in Westwood, coupled with car-sharing and the extensive vanpool network operated by UCLA, makes it feasible for many people to live here without a car. Naturally, there are some trade-offs, but the monetary savings and the satisfaction of doing what you can to limit your impact on the environment could be totally worth it.
Note: The WalkScore plummets to "Somewhat Walkable" for addresses within North Westwood Village, which is primarily residential and not proximate to businesses, which tends to boost the rating: