When Rockwood Capital and Four Corners Properties bought the Water Tower Plaza office and retail building in downtown Campbell, the “walkability” of the neighborhood was cited in the decision to buy. According to Seattle-based Web site and research company Walk Score, downtown Campbell is a “walker’s paradise.” Its 94-point score on a 100-point scale makes it one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Silicon Valley.
We in the Bay Area hear a lot about the virtue of urban living, including benefits for the air, natural environment and public health. The region’s preoccupation has been evident for years. First communities created “greenlines” beyond which development was no longer allowed (San Jose’s was established in 1996), then turned to high-density, infill development—preferably close to transit—to house more people and to get them out of their cars.
If walkability is taken as a proxy for urban, Walk Score provides another metric by which to measure our progress toward a “better” (or at least more compact) place to live. San Francisco ranks as the second most-walkable city in the country with an overall walk score of 84.9. (No. 1 New York’s score is 85.3.) Berkeley has a community-wide score of 82; Emeryville an 80. They are the only cities in the Bay Area with overall walkability scores above 70.