Somerville named Top 10 City for walking and transit

On November 16, 2013, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

City jumps from 10th to 7th most walkable city in nation; Also lands rank of 9th for most transit-friendly city

somervillelogoAccording to 2014 national Walk Score ratings, Somerville is now the 7th most walkable city and the 9th most transit-friendly city in the nation, regardless of population size. The new scores released in November reflect Somerville’s continued climb up the walkability charts, with the city rising three spots from number 10 last year to number 7 in the latest rankings—and with new Orange and Green Line MBTA stops on the horizon, the outlook is good for an ever higher transit-friendly score in the future as well.

Walkscore’s city page features scores for cities with populations above 250,000, but when all of the 2,978 cities ranked are considered, Somerville comes in as the 7th most walkable city in the nation just behind New York City (5th) and Cambridge, MA, (6th) (instructions for viewing scores below). Meanwhile, an analysis of the most recent Census data reveals that 12.5 percent of Somerville residents walk to work, the 11th highest percentage in the U.S. For transit, Somerville is ranked 9th in the nation according to Walk Score, and the latest Census data shows that 30.4 percent of residents take transit to work, the 7th highest percentage in the U.S.

Walk Score’s 2014 ranking marks the first time that the company used its new Street Smart Walk Score algorithm, calculating the Walk Score of every city block by analyzing walking routes, nearby amenities and pedestrian friendliness.

“It’s no surprise that Walk Score rates Somerville so highly under its improved methodology. As we’ve stated from day one—based on what the community has told us they value—we’re committed to making Somerville more walkable, bikeable and transit-oriented,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “It’s all about supporting an active lifestyle, building community and creating a sense of place. When we build crosswalks, inviting streetscapes, and bike routes, we’re creating urban rooms—active streetscapes supported by an active daytime population that support a resilient, self-sufficient economic base for our city. A walkable city means that residents can get their daily needs in their neighborhood without ever getting in a car, that local businesses get the foot traffic that’s essential for them to thrive, and that outside businesses want to invest here when they see a vibrant, active city with bustling streets.”

During Mayor Curtatone’s administration, the City of Somerville has committed to creating the most walkable, bikeable and transit-oriented city in the country. In the last three years, the city has updated or added pedestrian safety infrastructure such as street trees, curb bump-outs and ADA-accessible ramps, and begun work on the extension of the Somerville Community Path from its current end at Cedar Street to Lowell Street, with the city strongly advocating for the Path’s future extension to Boston. Under the new Neighborhood Street Reconstruction Program the City will use a data-driven methodology to improve street accessibility and safety for all users, balance transportation choices and foster a sense of community through smart design.

Somerville is also on the verge of a tremendous expansion of public transportation with the Assembly Square Orange Line stop scheduled to open in 2014 and the second phase of the Green Line Extension now funded, with the first two stops in Union Square and Brickbottom scheduled to open in 2017. The city continues to work collaboratively with residents, businesses and all stakeholders in achieving the goals outlined in the 20-year comprehensive SomerVision plan in building communities around these investments, through programs and initiatives such as the Somerville by Design series that create a consensus around the community’s vision.

The new Walk Score rankings come on the heels of The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NATCO) adding the City of Somerville to its prestigious affiliate member list, which includes just 18 member cities and 12 affiliate members nationwide. NACTO officials lauded Somerville for its commitment “to sustainable transportation initiatives, aiming to strengthen cities and improve quality of life through better street design and transportation policy.” Somerville was also recently recognized by the League of American Cyclists with a Silver level Bicycle Friendly Community Award, recognizing a significant step up from Bronze in only two years.

To view the full Walk Score rankings for all 2,978 cities, visit  and scroll down to the map showing “All Cities”.  Below the map, move the population slider to zero, then select “Walk Score” to reorder the list by walk score rankings.


10 Responses to “Somerville named Top 10 City for walking and transit”

  1. ritepride says:

    Yeh right! Tell that to the handicapped and elderly who have to dodge the erratic bikeriders on the sidewalks of the squares and the walking paths. Tell “Walkscore” how the intersection at Powderhouse Blvd/Packard Ave. has been changed to 4-way stop signs and narrowed due to the number of pedestrians/students hit by vehicles. All these awards the mayor touts are bunk as if the organizations that issued them really came and checked this city then none of the awards would have been presented in the first place.

  2. Somerbreeze says:

    Ritepride nails it…

    The national organizations that confer these inaccurate, feel-good plaudits on Somerville have absolutely NO CLUE to the hazardous violations of public safety that rogue sidewalk cyclists inflict on pedestrians here, especially seniors and the disabled. And City Hall cynically ignores enforcement, while Mayor Joe is too busy checking his profile in the mirror…

    I think citizens need to clue in these organizations as to what REALLY goes on here, public-safety wise. And clue in the rest of our citizens, too!
    Otherwise, this dangerous BS is just going to continue ad nauseum.

  3. Townie says:

    Ditto. It’s all nonsense, feel good, pat yourself on the back stuff. Unless, of course you are disabled, have young kids, are elderly, have 2 jobs with little time for travel, etc., etc., etc.

  4. Frankly says:

    Wrong Townie. As the parent of a young child, one of the reasons I love living here is the ability to walk just about everywhere with him. Next spring I will start biking just about everywhere with him. There is clear room for improvement in places, but that improvement IS happening. Take a walk down Broadway and see what is happening there. Washington St, Somerville Ave, soon Beacon St – all have or will see huge improvements for biking/walking. Great to see all this hard work recognized, though I think the award also says something about just how bad it is to get around without a car in much of the rest of the country.

  5. A,Moore says:

    Walkable. Except for the elderly. I know 4 elderly people who have tripped and gotten hurt on those brick crosswalks and the brick in Davis Square where one had to be taken to the hospital.

  6. Annie says:

    Frankly, what will you do if and when you have 2 children, perhaps 3? Or is that not allowed in a walkable city? And if you choose to send your child to public pre-school, how will you get there? It is not available across the city (to their credit the school department finally woke up and realized that not everyone, especially the poor, could get to East Somerville for preschool). Have you ever tried doing family grocery shopping on foot? And if you plan to bike with your child, please follow the law. I see kids being endangered by their parents on bikes every day. And by the way, some of us are elderly/disabled and need our cars, so the changes you think are great because you are able to get on a bike are making our lives harder.
    As far as tripping, I am not yet elderly and have tripped several times on the bike path and also know people who have tripped and injured themselves. The concrete has not been maintained at all by the city. I have also tripped on the wonderful sidewalks that are pushed up at a 90 degree angle by tree roots. Walkable, indeed.

  7. gregtowne says:

    The person who designed that new 4 way stop at Packard and Powderhouse is probably the same one who came up with the back in angle parking in Union. Utterly ridiculous. God forbid the knuckleheads at Tufts take the earbuds out and look both ways before crossing the street.

  8. Ron Newman says:

    What’s wrong with the 4-way stop? It should be a lot easier and safer to cross both streets now. This probably should have been done years ago.

  9. ritepride says:

    Well Ron that intersection in heavy rains when the straight curbing was at the corners was notorious for flooding out. Same in winter with the snow banks/rain. Now with the cutout curbing extending out further into the street more water will accumulate and the water will back up onto the nearby home lawns and flood the cellars. Should have had the Tufts Engineering students involved as a class project before they started construction. Waterr coming down both Packard Ave & Curtis St. runs down the blvd to Packard Ave/Powderhouse Blvd., thus the flooding.

  10. Frankly? says:

    Frankly, you typify the new attitude around here that has so many people frustrated. It works for you and your family, so it’s great! you care nothing for those who get around a little more slowly, or have other concerns. I’m thrilled your little family is healthy, able bodied, but take a moment for others who are not. Elders cannot navigate your outdoor brunch scene when they just have to get to the store or church. and as someone who has no option on walking (my job requires carrying equipment that doesn’t work on a bike) I resent being squeezed out as the campaign to end driving goes on. Don’t even start me on using a wheelchair in this city. but, if you can take your little guy for nice long walks, hey, I’m happy

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