These Philadelphia streets are made for walking. Her walk score makes her the fifth most walkable city in the nation, according to America Walks. The group provides walk scores for cities across the nation.

Philadelphia, with a score of 74.1, ranked only behind New York City, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago.  The scores are based on the principles of new urbanism, and ultimately calculated using an algorithm that uses U.S. Census data, as well as locally collected information to determine how easy it is to walk around certain places.

Walkable downtown

In Philly, it’s easy enough to grab some meat at the Italian Market down by 9th & Washington, walk north to Center City, and then walk across Market Street towards the Parkway and the Art Museum. The Parkway has benefited from ongoing streetscape improvements as well as the opening of the new Barnes and renovated Rodin Museum.

Ben Franklin Parkway, looking toward downtown

The walk along the Schuylkill Banks at sundown is almost Goethe worthy. Not to mention the historic Boathouse Row. And let’s not forget Independence, Washington and Rittenhouse Squares. And with recent improvements along North Broad Street, there may be more reasons to walk through that area in the future. Plus, there are plans to improve the accessibility and walkability of the Delaware River banks in the coming years.

A more walkable Delaware waterfront in the future?

Though Philadelphia is a large city, a walk around Center City hardly takes an afternoon. And if you hop on SEPTA, getting across town is easy as waiting a few minutes once you’ve boarded a train or bus. It’s easy enough to hop on the El at Market Street and head into West Philly, Fishtown or the Northeast.

In the future, look for efforts like the Spring Garden Greenway to continue to improve Philadelphia’s walkability and connectivity between neighborhoods. And imagine, two decades from now, when the planning associated with Phila2035 (at least some of those grand ideas) has been implanted, even better walkability in Center City and beyond. Maybe by then, we’ll all have solar powered bikes propelling us on to the same old places… just a bit faster.

–Lou Mancinelli