Aspen called a walkers paradise
ASPEN, Colorado With gas prices skyrocketing, many Americans are looking for homes in places where they can get around on foot. And a new website that calculates the walkability of an area ranks Aspen a walkers paradise.Launched in July 2007, the site http://www.walkscore.com uses an algorithm to rank a place based on the proximity of amenities.By simply typing your address or town name into a search window on the site, one can view an areas walkability rating.The Walk Score mission is to promote walkable communities, write the website creators in the about section. We believe that walking is good for our health, our communities, and our planet.A score of 90 to 100 is a walkers paradise, and means that most errands can be done on foot and people get by without owning a car. From 70 to 89 is very walkable and means you can get by without a car; 50 to 69 is somewhat walkable and requires some drives.A score of less than 50 means an area is car dependent.A search for Aspen earns a perfect score of 100.Glenwood Springs also lists as a walkers paradise at 91, and Carbondale earns avery walkable score of 83.Basalt and El Jebel, however, get car dependent ratings of 31 and 49, respectively (see box below).The website ranks more than 2,500 neighborhoods in 40 major U.S. cities.Denvers Cherry Creek neighborhood came in at 137th.Walkability is a new buzz word in real estate, according to bloggers on the site, and some local realtors agree.The single biggest first request from a buyer is, Can I walk to the center of town? said Aspen real estate broker Rich Wagar. One of the beauties of Aspen is that it is awalk to place.An Aspen resident for 38 years, Wagar said every property hes ever bought whether as an investment or to live in has been in walking distance to town.And when hes not hoofing, Wagar drives his electric car, he said.Location has always been the predominant consideration, said Brent Waldron, of Coates Reid & Waldron Real Estate in Aspen.He categorizes customers as those who want to be close to the lift, close to restaurants and nightlife, or, for West End residents, close to the Benedict Music Tent.People always want to be auto-independent in Aspen, Waldron said, adding that biking and walking the downtown have long been the norm.We were ahead of the trend, Waldron said.