How Walkable is Mountlake Terrace?

You've probably seen the term "walkability" used on this site before. It means much more than just the physical ability to walk around a place or neighborhood. So what is walkability? This video explains it well:

While Mountlake Terrace is not terribly unwalkable, there is a lot that can be improved.

The general theory of walkability explains how, to be favored, a walk has to satisfy four main conditions: it must be useful, safe, comfortable, and interesting.

In general, walking around Mountlake Terrace is safe, comfortable, and interesting. Almost all of our major roads have sidewalks and good portion of our side streets do as well. We don't have any streets with speed limits over 35 mph and the City is active in finding ways to decrease speeding where people often go over the speed limit.

The useful walk is probably where we are lacking the most. While things are improving, there are still many people in the City who don't really have destinations within a 10 minute walk.

Walkscore is a website that gives a location a score relating to how walkable it is. It's a compilation of how close a location is to destinations, how connected the streets are, population density, block length, and many other factors. Overall, Mountlake Terrace gets a Walkscore of 42, which the website says is a car dependant city where most errands require a car.

walkscoreWhile the Walkscore of the city as a whole is 42, Walkscores for specific locations within the city vary quite a bit.

As you can see, there are three locations where the Walkscore is higher and as you  move away from those location the Walkscore decreases.

Melody Hill

This area is the northwest corner of the city primary along the 220th St SW corridor. The reason this area likely has a higher Walkscore is the high number of businesses in the neighborhood. Most of this area is commercial or industrial with some multi-family housing and single family housing to the south. Most streets have decent pedestrian infrastructure (sidewalks, crosswalks) though the development style is very much auto-oriented and bicycle infrastructure is non-existent.

Cedar Plaza

This area is centered around Cedar Plaza at 228th St SW and Cedar Way. Cedar Plaza is a very busy shopping center, both for automobile traffic and pedestrians alike. People who live near by are fortunate to have a wide variety of stores including the QFC grocery store, restaurants and a pub, a hardware store, a gym, a pet store and veterinarian, a Starbucks coffee shop, and many other amenities. There are also a couple of smaller office buildings and other retail properties right at that intersection. Again, most streets have sidewalks and the 228th/Cedar Way road project is going to vastly improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists and likely reduce automobile speeding. A lot of people walk to and from Cedar Plaza, especially those who live in one of the many condo or apartment complexes to the south on Cedar Way.

Town Center/Gateway

I spend a lot of time writing on this site about these two neighborhoods since it is the area that will likely see the most change in the coming years. This area of higher Walkscore is mainly along the 56th Ave W and 244th St SW corridors. There are various restaurants in this area, mostly notably the new Diamond Know Brewpub on the north end and Time Out Burgers on the south end. There's also a scattering of various other businesses. Pedestrian infrastructure is decent but will be greatly improved in the coming years as the Main St. Project will improve much of 56th and 244th St SW may be improved in the not too distant future as well. This neighborhood has a great street grid so traffic volumes and speeds on most streets are fairly low and conducive to walking and cycling. Most of the area is auto-oriented development and single family residences though many of this will likely be replaced with mixed-use development in the future.

How could the walkability of your neighborhood be improved?

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