“Location, Location, Location.” Okay, now add, “Walkability.”
With travelers more health conscious, they increasingly inquire, “Can I get there on foot?”
You may have heard about a Seattle-based company called WalksScore. A helpful aid to valuing real estate, they focus on walkability.
Walkscore has developed a large-scale, public access walkability index that assigns a numerical walkability score to any address in America.
With a big-city bias towards urban living, New York City tops their list, with a WalkScore of 89, or very walkable, where Most errands can be accomplished on foot.
Small city walkability
In the City of Canandaigua, a neighborhood just one block from downtown earns our highest WalkScore of 80 – and like NYC, very walkable, where again, Most errands can be accomplished on foot.
Our principal residence on North Main Street, located a half-mile from downtown Canandaigua, gets a WalkScore of 54 – Somewhat walkable, where Some errands can be accomplished by foot. When we’re not at the lake – especially during the weeks the cottage is available for rent – I love walking to work.
Walkability on Canandaigua Lake
Walkability is a positive feature of urban living, but what about lake living?
Can you reconcile away from it all with walkability?
By way of background, I grew up in Woodville, a tiny hamlet on the scenic – but distant – south end of Canandaigua Lake. With a 30-minute drive to get there from Canandaigua, it certainly qualifies as away from it all.
But Woodville’s homes and cottages sit at the base of a huge shale cliff, sharing the very narrow lakefront with NYS Route 21.
Because cars always park on the lakeside of this busy road, if you want to stretch your legs, you’re forced to walk on the pavement. With traffic (including 18-wheel trucks) that often exceed the 30 mph speed limit, pedestrians feel very unsafe.
Though beautiful, Woodville has a WalkScore of 8 – Car Dependent, where Almost all errands require a car. Likely, the only reason it scores that high is because it has a seasonal bar/restaurant on the south end of the lake. I worked there as a teenager.
Years after I left Woodville, we began searching for a cottage of our own. When we discovered a cottage for sale on the northeast shore of Canandaigua Lake, just 400 steps away from the city line, we were elated.
Even in the winter that it was listed for sale, it was easy to reach. We stopped by to see it every time we grocery shopped at Wegmans. After weeks of thinking and debate, we finally decided to buy it.
With the lake right in front, a private golf course in back, on a 10-mph cul-de-sac, it still checks the box for away from it all. Best of all, it’s walkable.
Our cottage location earns a WalkScore of 33, or “car dependent,” where “Most errands require a car.”
“33” sounds low, and it should be higher, because the WalkScore folks way off in Seattle failed to include in their calculation the 7 lakefront parks within a mile of the cottage.
I e-mailed to WalkScore to fix that glitch in their index.
Where can you walk to?
Our WalkScore of 33 is highest of all vacation rental properties on Canandaigua Lake.
And unlike anyplace else on Canandaigua Lake, you don’t need a car at our cottage. One of the things we enjoy here is that we drive less and relax more.
Competing properties on West Lake Road earn a WalkScore of no higher than 3 – Almost all errands require a car.
While there’s no bad place to stay on the lake, walkability shows the difference between the east or west side:
But on the west side, walk 30 minutes and you barely reach NY Kitchen. Worse, your walk there offers no shade trees or lake air to cool you.
Mapping reveals the difference
WalkScore lets you calculate distances and maps for time and travel modes.
From the west side, here’s what your 30-minute walk accomplishes:
Here’s where you can walk in 30 minutes from our cottage:
Here’s what’s in walking distance of our location:
Walkable Canandaigua lakefront
Canandaigua Lake is 16 miles long, with 7 parks concentrated on the north end, within the City of Canandaigua.
And at this cottage, it’s all nearby!