It’s not first place. Not even second or third. But in a city that works tirelessly to eliminate the need for a car, if not altogether discouraging it, an above average ranking is an accomplishment.
Again, we’re not at the top of the list, but 26th out of 92 neighborhoods puts us in the top third of walkable neighborhoods. If we scored one point higher, we would have been in the top 25%. According to walkscore.com, Foster-Powell earned 76 points, which classifies it as “very walkable.” Outside of downtown, the Pearl, and Old Town, the Hollywood District (95 points) was the highest ranked neighborhood east of the Willamette, followed by Sunnyside and Hosford-Abernathy, at 91 and 90 respectively.
Based on a metric that awards points for proximity to certain amenities, FoPo’s score puts it ahead of neighborhoods like Montavilla and Woodstock, and just behind Sullivan’s Gulch and Irvington . For perspective, FoPo’s score is 10 points higher than Portland’s overall average of 66, and, amazingly, one point higher than Sellwood/Moreland. Perhaps this has more to do with the relative size of our neighborhood, and the entirety of it being situated between three major thoroughfares. For example, neighborhoods earn max points for being within .25 miles of certain amenities, while those more than a mile away earn zero. A bigger neighborhood, then, although close to more shopping and services, may be so big that parts of the neighborhood are more than the .25 miles from said amenities. Foster-Powell, although maybe not providing the amenities we all seek, does not suffer from being too big, and, conversely, we are within easy walking distance to shops and services on Foster, Powell, and 82nd.
Unfortunately, a relatively high walkability score does not necessarily lend itself to active pedestrian use. Foster Road, for example, despite having places to eat and drink, does little to draw in pedestrians, and is more conducive to driving through, rather than waking within. This speaks more about the amenities offered in the neighborhood, which may make the scoring system a bit flawed. What’s telling, however, is that the city’s ideals for 20-minute neighborhoods could very well be met in a neighborhood like Foster-Powell. The bones are there, as the score would indicate. We just need to make it work for us.
Use it. Promote it. Draw in more business. It’s yours…and it’s walkable.