Hobart has been caught dawdling in the pedestrian stakes, says a new survey that ranks the Tasmanian capital 19th in a list of Australia’s most walkable cities.
The WalkScore rating system, which calculates the ability of residents to live a car-free lifestyle, has Hobart trailing centres including Dubbo, Lismore and Geelong. WalkScore.com, which has rated nearly 3000 cities worldwide for their “walkability” to key amenities such as schools, shops, parks and workplaces, gives greater Hobart a score of just 44.5 out of 100 just 1.5 points above the global average.
Hobart Lord Mayor Damon Thomas said that, although some suburbs were much better for walkers than others, there was always room for improvement, including better public transport.
“It’s OK if you live in Sandy Bay, where you can walk to shops, parks and schools,” he said. “But places like Lindisfarne and Warrane are much more challenged.” Mr Thomas said the council was addressing the issue, with pedestrian-friendly roads and higher-density inner-city living on the agenda. “We are aiming for 5000 more people to be living in central Hobart in 10 years, and Liverpool St will be made much more walker friendly,” he said.
Bringing up the rear in Hobart’s suburbs stakes are Seven Mile Beach (10), Tranmere (7) and Otago: dead last with a WalkScore of 1.
But several inner-city Hobart suburbs buck the gloom. North Hobart and Glebe (85) offer walkers plenty and the website names Hobart City and Battery Point Walkers’ Paradises, scoring 92. Battery Point resident and A Walk in Old Hobart author Mike Tatlow stretched his legs in Arthur Circus yesterday. “Battery Point has got a good collection of retail shops, a post office, a few good cafes, most of the things you want,” said Mr Tatlow, who often also walks in to town. “And also Salamanca, which has got the lot … and lovely parks.”
Hobart’s Top 10 walkable suburbs or areas with rank/WalkScore out of 100
1. Hobart City 92
2. Battery Point 92
3. Glebe 85
4. North Hobart 85
5. West Hobart 77
6. Moonah 75
7. Rosny Park 74
8. Queens Domain 72
9. New Town 68
10. Derwent Park 63
I will be interested to use this a little during home searches to see if it takes into account more than just distance to facilities. In Tasmania many places are hilly and so a 400 metre walk to the shops may sound reasonable but if you have to lug a bag of groceries up a very steep hill on the way home then it isn’t necessarily great in terms of walkability. This is something that I often point out to people when they ask me about where to live in Tasmania and about particular suburbs and towns.