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Baltimore Business Journal: Where Baltimore ranks among the most walkable cities
Baltimore's walkability score held steady in 2017, again placing the city No. 11 in the U.S. on a new report. Walk Score, a company owned by online real estate site Redfin, ranked cities with more than 300,000 residents on a score 0-100 based distance from amenities, such as grocery stores, coffee shops and restaurants, pedestrian friendliness and density of population. Baltimore scored a 69.4, narrowly missing the top 10. Long Beach, Calif., ranked just ahead of Baltimore with a score of 69.9. Walkability is "very high" on a client's priority list when looking for a new residence, said Jon Schuldt, a Redfin agent in Baltimore City. Across Baltimore, five neighborhoods are deemed as very walkable. Mount Vernon, Downtown, Little Italy, Upper Fells Point and University of Maryland, Baltimore all scored above 95 in 2017. Many of those neighborhoods are experiencing apartment booms with new retail. At the same time, West Baltimore neighborhoods Franklintown, Beechfield and Wakefield all score below 30 on the walkability index. Since taking office in December, Mayor Catherine Pugh has made luring new retail and grocery stores to under-served neighborhoods one of her top priorities. During a trip to a retail conference in Las Vegas last week, Pugh met with potential grocers, as well as movie theater and restaurant chains about expanding into the city. Overall, Baltimore’s average walkability has improved since 2015 when it was given a score of 66. The development and construction of mixed-use buildings has been a big driver of the increase in score, Schuldt said. “We’re seeing a lot of apartments above restaurants or shopping centers, like the Anthem House and some of the buildings in Federal Hill,” he said. Baltimore also ranks No. 8 for most transit friendly large cities in 2017, according to Walk Score.