Miami Ranked 8th Most Walkable City in U.S. by People Who Apparently Don't Live in Miami

Categories: Survey Says
800px-2008-0426-FL-Versailles-EXT.jpg
Bobak Ha'Eri via wikimedia commons
Little Havana, a pedestrian paradise according to Walk Score
Walking anywhere in Miami often feels like running the trenches in World War I: randomly placed barbed wire tears at your clothing, errant bombs -- or in this case, cars -- send you diving into muddy ditches, and it's hard not to trip over the occasional dead body or two.

So it comes as a surprise to just about anybody who actually lives in Miami that the city has been ranked the 8th most walkable in the U.S. by the Sightline Institute's Walk Score program.

Apparently, proximity to a Pollo Tropical is heavily weighted.

The suggestion that the endless car-park we live in could grace the same top ten list as New York, Boston, D.C., or San Francisco -- where a coffee shop great you on each corner like one of those marathon water boys, urging you on to the next one -- has drawn some local criticism.

Over at Transit Miami, Tony Garcia argues that the Walk Score program instantly drops to Chad Henne-levels of reliability by placing Miami in its top ten.

"Though this might come as a shock to most Miamians because of the city's dismal walkability in real life, the Walk Score researchers use a computer algorithm to correlate population density to 'neighborhood amenities,'" Garcia writes. "Unfortunately, this metric has nothing to do with the factors that acually make a city walkable, such as street design, pedestrian safety, transit, etc."

The study's reliability isn't helped by its neighborhood-by-neighborhood breakdown. Unsurprisingly, downtown and Brickell are top of the list (Miami Beach isn't included). But Little Havana is strangely in a close third.

Little Havana? Where the only people brave enough to cross Calle Ocho on foot are viejitos zapped on Versailles coffee and mumbling about Fidel?
Neighborhood Score
1 Downtown 86
2 Brickell 83
3 Little Havana 82
4 Wynwood / Edgewater 81
5 Overtown 76
6 North/East Coconut Grove 75
7 Shenandoah 74
8 Upper Eastside 72
9 Little Haiti 72
10 Coral Way 71
11 Alameda / West Flagler 69
12 Allapattah 67
13 South/West Coconut Grove 67
14 Flagami 66
15 Liberty City 58
16 Fair Isle 46
Although the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization is already touting the city's walkability, Garcia points out that Miami is actually hella-dangerous for pedestrians.

We put the question to Miami-resident and internationally renowned urban planner Andrés Duany.

"No, Miami's doesn't have nearly enough walkable spaces," he said. "And I'm not sure it's going in the right direction."

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18 comments
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Donzon24
Donzon24

Please allow your editor to proof read all stories. Every single story is full of misspelled words and grammatical errors. Thank you

Got my galoshes on
Got my galoshes on

"Walkability" in other major cities relies heavily on an operating, safe, and practical mass transit system like bus lines, metro lines: subways and els (like the Metrorail in Miami), trains, etc. We don't have that here ergo, sure, we can walk "in" places like Downtown or some neighborhoods in Miami Beach, Coconut Grove, and the Gables but we have to commute BETWEEN those places as well and, for that, we rely on personal transport like cars.

It is unsafe to bike in Miami. Period. People do it and thankfully the cycling community is actively hard at work advocating safer practices and awareness among drivers and local policy makers, but it's unsafe for, say, someone to commute from the Kendall area to the Key Biscayne area.

Moreover, the way that our city is designed has it laid out over long distances from one major urban area to another. Many of us commute over ten miles to get to work every day and, again, that's due to the breadth of the city scape and all its underlying townships and suburbs that are umbrella'ed into the "Miami" concept. "Miami" is huge and, again, unfortunate to travel throughout without automotive transportation. Given our climate, in addition, it is actually extremely unlikely that anyone would *walk* over a one mile distance, even, between home and a grocery store.

Besides all this, there are many unsafe neighborhoods and streets between places that perhaps walking would suit individuals to move through if they weren't so notoriously unsafe for pedestrians, this has to do both with crime and with safety hazards including low-light streets, signs, and indirect passage from one block to another. Miami is a particularly NON-pedestrian friendly city and I don't see that changing anytime soon. We should be investing more in mass transit and in road safety for alternative-to-automotive transport.

Fontsize8randy
Fontsize8randy

I love how overtown is above the grove and coral way. Pleeeaaaasseee tourists, do not follow this guide.. you will get shot.

Tony Garcia
Tony Garcia

@Juan Pollo - anyone can walk. The point is whether it's appropriate to place miami in the company of truly walkable cities like NY or Chicago where it is safe, conventient and easy to do so. As a point of comparison, less than 1% of all trips in Dade County are walking trips, compared to 10-15% for other walkable cities.

I sincerely commend you for being a true urban dweller. As a pedestrian - you of all people should know how challenging our tansportation planners and engineers make getting around on two feet.

Walkable
Walkable

Miami Beach is certainly a pedestrian friendly city. Besides that, the Grove, some areas in the Gables, and the few blocks at Mid-Town. But certainly not all of Miami is pedestrian friendly.

Lulum28
Lulum28

please correct your typo...it's "where a coffee shop GREET you on each corner like...." Thank you.

Dan
Dan

this article was poorly written.

Got my galoshes on
Got my galoshes on

Miami New Times Blog, I have recently found, is fantastically poorly written. Proofreaders are, apparently, optional as are spell checks or even a review by an editor.

Guestemail
Guestemail

These deceiving reports will only deter the city from improving pedestrian and commuter amenities. We need bike lanes, sidewalks and public transit. Thanks for the help Sightline Institute.

Anthony Majin Phillips
Anthony Majin Phillips

Mr. Pollo you my friend are fucking crazy. While I do agree that downtown and maybe some parts of coral gables is very enjoyable to walk around the rest of this shit hole we call miami is not. Walking from bayside to downtown is a suicide run because of biscayne blvd. Hialeah is not safe to cross the street because know who drives there obeys the right of way even when the crossing lights work which most of them don't. Little Haiti yeah the night I walk around there at two am I going to have two .45's on me a dog the attacks on command and maybe four or five people around me all arm to the teeth. By the way not everyone can afford or has the time for a Concealed Weapons Permit. So unless your about to paid for all of us. STFU!!!

Anon
Anon

so you are angry at an individual who has different opinions than you? methinks you're one of the reasons people are afraid to walk around miami.

while i do not think it is the brightest thing to walk around the churchill's/little haiti area at 2am, downtown and bayside are not suicide runs. i've lived in the area for a decade and dine out regularly with the help of the metromover and my two trusty feet and have yet to experience anything i would not in ANY major metropolitan city not called Singapore.

seep
seep

Why not just carry one 45 with two clips?

Over
Over

There are a key two or three places that are 'pedestrian friendly' in Miami, South Beach, and one or two others.

The rest of Miami is a living nightmare for people who walk, filled with roads with no crosswalks, broken down pedestrian lights, honking cars when you have right of way, and much more. 

Juan R. Pollo
Juan R. Pollo

I like to walk around the downtown area. Throw in the People Mover and you can walk anywhere from South Brickell to the Omni and from Bayside to I-95. I walk Calle 8 from 13th ave to 17th ave once a month during Cultural Friday. I walk all over Miracle Mile and surroundings. Last year I walked from the Bay of Pigs Memorial to the Torch of Friendship in support of Cuban dissidents, and walked back leisurely stopping at Tobacco Road for a refreshment. I walk around Churchill's in Little Haiti at 2 AM. I walk around Lago Grande in Hialeah for a couple of miles without having to cross any streets. And I do all this unarmed, but I guess those who might feel a little apprehensive can get their Concealed Carry permit and have some companionship. Come on, New Times, get out there and walk.

Spoof
Spoof

your story about walking a year ago indicates you drive the rest of the year. Each of the places you mentioned would have required you to get there by car to do your 'walking' and then you went back home. Miami is horrible for walking.

and how is the grove behind lil Havana??

Happyfolk87
Happyfolk87

i agree with spoof, ive grown up walking and taking public transportation all over miami, to get anywhere, but talking about walking from one place to another that is not brickell to downtown which getting on the mover doesnt count as walking but those two areas are basically the only true walkable place in miami besides miami beach. Any other place like brickell walking to the grove or miracle mile, is crap, ive walked from brickell to miracle mile is not a testament of our city walkability. all these area are driven too, everyone drive to the grove park and walk around, same with any other area of miami. Miami is a driving city, everywhere you go , you have to drive there and park. Another point is that the FDOT is not doing anything to prove this city except help people drive more and ths city just builds more parking spaces to allow for more driving.

so please next, someone goes and praise some algorithm that says miami is a great place, please take it upon yourself and walk around. not just one day but everyday to get around and see how crappy design this city is and how poor the transportation.

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