Published On: March 2nd, 2023Categories: BLT News, Harbor Point, News

Where are Connecticut’s most and least walkable areas?

By Amy Coval / CT Insider | Feb. 14, 2023 | Updated: March 1, 2023
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In a “walkable” neighborhood, people can go about daily tasks on their own two feet — from getting to school and work to accessing retail stores and restaurants. But how is the “walkability” of certain areas determined?

The Environment Protection Agency (EPA)’s walkability index ranks every U.S. census block group — neighborhoods that generally contain between 600 and 3,000 people — by four measures:

Intersection density: The number of pedestrian-friendly street crossings per square mile.
Proximity to transit: The distance of the nearest transit stop from the neighborhood’s population center.
Employment mix: The variety of job types available.
Mix of businesses and households: The availability of housing, combined with job variety.

A walkability score of 20 means a given neighborhood is in the top 5 percent of census block groups across the U.S., meaning very walkable. A score of 1 means it is in the bottom 5 percent. With these EPA scores, the interactive below shows the most and least walkable parts of the Nutmeg State based on the four criteria.

However, it is important to note that the EPA’s “walkable” designation is not the end all be all when it comes to finding good places to stroll. The data does not take into account things like infrastructure quality in terms of sidewalks or safety.

Connecticut’s unique mix of urban, suburban and rural areas lends itself to a fairly large range when it comes to walkability. Some urban areas in Fairfield and Hartford counties put up scores in the high 18s and 19s, offering residents access to transit, entertainment and work/school all on foot. In the more rural and residential-based parts of the state, some census blocks have scores under 5, making them unfit to support walking-based activities and errands.

Although Connecticut has pockets of walkability that rank well nationally, the state does not have a single census block with a perfect 20 walkability score, meaning no area in the state is within the top 5 percent of walkable census blocks in the United States.

In a Hearst analysis of five markets, a census block in San Francisco was the only one with a perfect walkability score.

With this, here are the most walkable spots in each Connecticut county.

Fairfield County: The census block in Stamford north of I-95 and south of West Main St. between Laddin Rocks Road and Roosevelt Ave. was deemed the most walkable spot in Fairfield County. The area received three perfect scores (20) in proximity to transit stops, employment type mix and employment-housing mix. The area has a variety of business types, like gas stations, laundromats, salons, a grocery store It also encompasses a Stop and Shop grocery store as well as Greenwich Hospital’s internal medicine offices. With a walkability score of 19.3, it barely nudged out Stamford’s South End neighborhood known as Harbor Point, known for its plethora of luxury high rise buildings, Commons Park and proximity to the Stamford train station. These two census blocks in Stamford are the No. 1 and No. 2 most walkable areas in the entire state.

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