I’m not the only member of The Jennifer Ames Team who has something to say, so I decided it would be great to periodically turn the blog reigns over to a different member of my team. Our first “guest post” is written by David Wright, our team’s Marketing Associate. I hope you enjoy the new voice!  – Jenny

Walkin' Boots
These boots were made for walking — just like Chicago.

As one of two marketing specialists on The Jennifer Ames Team, I’m always looking for more ways to highlight the amenities to be found near our Chicago luxury listings. We frequently include information in our marketing brochures and Internet copy about retail, dining, and entertainment establishments that are located near the homes we sell. We also use a service called PeekaCity to create interactive amenity maps, which allow online viewers to scope out the neighborhood by what’s most important to them (like Mediterranean cuisine, for example).

Now, there’s a new service called Walk Score, a website that evaluates the “walkability” of an address based on its proximity to a diverse range of amenities. For example, if your home is near a supermarket, a restaurant, a park, and a school, it will earn a high walkability score (on a scale from 0 to 100). If there is nothing much close by, it will garner a much lower score.

Given this criteria, one might expect a vibrant city like Chicago to rate high on the walkability meter, and that’s entirely the case. In fact, Walk Score ranks Chicago as the fourth most walkable city in America (San Francisco, New York, and Boston snag the top slots).

If there’s anyone who appreciates the walkability of Chicago, it’s me. I grew up in a town of 15,000 in Central Minnesota, and despite the benefits of suburban living, the practicality of relying on my own two feet for transportation back home was next to zero. (Actually, according to Walk Score, it was 8/100).

It wasn’t until I studied abroad in China during college that I first set foot in a taxi, a city bus, and a subway. I never had reason to before. I drove everywhere.

After graduating from college and moving to Chicago’s Near North, I traded my four-door Camry for a CTA transit card (though not literally – the CTA doesn’t accept trade-ins).

I hardly noticed my car was gone.

The apartment building where I live has a convenience store, a dry cleaners, and a hair salon on the ground floor. A hardware store is across the street, and a Treasure Island supermarket, my bank, the CTA Red Line, and a major restaurant district are all two blocks away. Most importantly, however, the Magnificent Mile and our Coldwell Banker office at the John Hancock Center is only a 15 minute walk from home.

How does the walkability of my new dig rate according to Walk Score? A perfect 100/100.

Truth be told, Walk Score has its shortcomings (its inability to know whether there are actually sidewalks in the areas it rates is a big one), but nonetheless it’s still a genuine testament to the superior practicality of living Chicago on foot – particularly on the city’s fantastic North Side where our real estate sales team has its focus.

Throw in the scenery of the lakeshore and Lincoln Park – another factor Walk Score doesn’t consider – and you’ve got a very walkable city indeed.

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