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Berkeley Ranked 3rd in U.S. for Walkable Cities

Berkeley has been ranked third "most walkable" city in the U.S. in a survey of cities with 100,000 or more population.

View of a walkable city, Berkeley, Calif. Photo credit: Charles Burress
View of a walkable city, Berkeley, Calif. Photo credit: Charles Burress
A survey of the "most walkable" U.S. cities over 100,000 population has ranked Berkeley third in the nation.

Ranked first was Cambridge, MA, followed by Colubmia, SC. The assessment looked at what percentage of people get to work by walking.

It was 18.1 percent in Berkeley, compared with 24.5 percent in Cambridge and 20.7 percent in Columbia. In 10th-place Providence, RI, 10.8 percent walked to work.

Berkeley ranked first among the top 10 in the percent who work from home – by a large margin, 11.6 percent, compared to 6.5 percent in Cambridge, which had the second-highest proportion working from home.

"Look to these walkable cities as examples leading the way," according to a Huffington Post article posted Jan. 16 and updated this past Saturday.

The rankings, published by Governing.com, relied on 2012 data from American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau.

"In general," said Governing.com, "college towns tend to boast far greater numbers of walk commuters than other cities. For example, in Columbia, S.C., -- home to the University of South Carolina – more than 70 percent of all walk commuters surveyed in the Census data are under age 25."

"In Cambridge, about third of all people walking to work are younger than 25 -- more typical of other cities."

Here are the top 10 and the percent who walk to work.
  1. Cambridge, Mass. 24.5%
  2. Columbia, S.C. 20.7%
  3. Berkeley, Calif.18.1%
  4. Ann Arbor, Mich. 15.5%
  5. Boston, Mass. 15.5%
  6. Provo, Utah 12.2%
  7. Washington, D.C. 11.9%
  8. New Haven, Conn. 11.2%
  9. Syracuse, N.Y. 11%
  10. Providence, R.I. 10.8%
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shirley kirsten January 27, 2014 at 09:48 AM
That's why I moved to Berkeley!
Joan Roos January 27, 2014 at 01:51 PM
This study tells you that young people more often walk to work. It does not tell you if any city policy makes that walk easier.
Joshua D. Wise January 27, 2014 at 09:54 PM
Was this vote done by ibex and mountain goats? Was #2 San Francisco and #1 a wall?
M Jones January 28, 2014 at 12:16 AM
I believe another report issued last year ranked Berkeley the worst in California (as compared to other municipalities in its size class) with respect to pedestrian fatalities. This statistic became all the more personal for me last month after being hit by a car while walking in a Berkeley crosswalk in daylight. So, yes, we Berkeleyans may walk a lot, and good for us, but I wish doing so entailed less risk.
richard ehrenberger January 28, 2014 at 11:07 PM
This is a mis titled article….it pertains to 'walking to work' not 'walkability' which to me has to do with the myriad attractions/rewards of walking thru the space of one's city for work, pleasure, exercise etc.
Charles Burress (Editor) January 29, 2014 at 12:28 AM
I think you raise a fair point about "walkability." Our headline used the term "walkable" (which may differ slightly from "walkability"), because "most walkable" was used as part of the title on the article by the website that published the study, Governing.com. I think the percent who walk to work can be one indicator of how walkable a city is, but I also tend to agree with you that "walkable" implies a range of other characteristics that may not necessarily correlate with walking to work. Thanks for the feedback.

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