Taking a stroll in the 'City of Brotherly Love' is a breeze. In fact, Philadelphia is now one of the most walkable cities in the U.S., thanks to a recent ranking by Walk Score.
Walk Score named Philly the fourth most walkable city in the country. The private company conducts annual analysis of 10,000 neighborhoods in nearly 3,000 cities across the United States, Canada and Australia to promote the health, environmental and financial benefits of neighborhood walkability.
A spokesman for the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau Danielle Cohn said the walkability ranking may help the organization achieve its goal to bring more tourists and travelers to the city.
"This is a great acknowledgement for Philadelphia and helps PHLCVB to position the city as a walkable city -- the Complete Package -- to international visitors and convention planners," Cohn said.
"The fact that our convention center is downtown and so accessible via foot to hotels, attractions, restaurants and other services definitely helps differentiate Philadelphia among our competition."
According to Walk Score, a city’s walkability ranking is determined by a number of factors including the distances between its parks and public spaces, as well as the bicyclist-, pedestrian- and transit- friendliness of its streets designs.
The ranking could be deemed a result of efforts made by Michael Nutter during his early years as Mayor.
When Nutter first ran for Mayor in 2007, improving public safety was one of the cornerstones of his campaign. Within that base objective, the goal was to make the City of Philadelphia more ‘bikeable and walkable.’
In 2009, Nutter signed an executive order initiating the creation of a Complete Streets Policy. A year later the City was awarded a $23 million TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, $17.2 million of which Nutter announced would be used by the city’s Streets Department to fill gaps in the city’s walking and biking paths.
The Philadelphia City Planning Commission released its final Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan last year, announcing the addition of new bike lanes and safe travel routes for pedestrians throughout the city.
While speaking at the National Soda Summit last summer, Nutter touted his accomplishments during his keynote address.
"As Mayor, I have worked to make Philadelphia a more walkable and bikeable city. In 2008, I issued a Complete Street Executive Order, instructing all City agencies to consider the needs of not just motorists, but also pedestrians and cyclists," Nutter said in the address. "We now have 20 new miles of bike lanes and a bike and pedestrian plan encompassing the entire city. Not to mention, we are the number one big city for bicycle commuting in the U.S."
Philadelphia earned a 76.5 walkability score to come in fourth behind Boston, San Francisco and New York who earned rankings in the 80s. The average Walk Score among the 2,978 cities ranked was 36.
Philadelphia also ranked in the top five for most transit- and bike-friendly cities.