A closer look at local Walk Scores

How walkable is Rahway? According to Walk Score, it’s more walkable than most cities in New Jersey.

Walk Score indicates Rahway has an “average” Walk Score of 68. That seems to be an improvement over the 63 it scored about two years ago.

Metro Rahway.Elm-Campbell.complete

Rahway ranks 25th among New Jersey’s 61 largest towns for its Walk Score, with an average of 68, the same as nearby Roselle and just behind neighbor Linden, at 69. For perspective, nearby Colonia has among the lowest average Walk Score at 42. Only nine cities have lower scores, all tend to be fairly suburban.

Rahway’s average score puts it in the high end of “Somewhat Walkable” and on the cusp of the “Very Walkable” category:

  • 90-100 – Walker’s Paradise: Daily errands do not require a car.
  • 70-89 – Very Walkable: most errands can be accomplished on foot.
  • 50-69 – Somewhat Walkable: some errands can be accomplished on foot.
  • 25-49 – Car-Dependent: Most errands require a car.
  • 0-24 – Car-Dependent: Almost all errands require a car.

The top Walk Scores among the 61 largest cities in New Jersey are dominated by dense, more urban areas. Hudson County has the top four cities, including the highest Walk Score at 95 (Hoboken).

Park Square.Irving Street

In the past, we’ve looked at how Rahway compares to other towns nearby in Walk Score but this time, I thought it’d be interesting to see the difference among various points within Rahway, specifically new (and old) developments.

Not surprisingly, most of the highest scores are found in the core of downtown and nearly all of the developments score within the “Very Walkable” scale, though some much higher than others. Almost all of the ones listed below score better than the city’s average in general and only one falls into the “Somewhat Walkable” category:

Brookside at Rahway2Some of the scores are a little curious and possibly have something to do with just keeping up to date. For instance, Meridia Lafayette Village recently began leasing at the corner of Main and Monroe Streets and scores an 85. Across the street, Main and Monroe has approval but hasn’t yet started construction but only scores 77, which is the same as Carriage City Plaza. And in between those two, The Gramercy is under construction on East Cherry Street and earns among the highest scores.

According to Walk Score, its ranking “uses the Street Smart Walk Score algorithm that incorporates walking routes, depth of choice, pedestrian friendliness, population and neighborhood data.” It’s not a perfect calculation by any means and has its drawbacks; one has to take into account the methodology as well as how up to date the sources used are to calculate the score.

Amenities within a 5-minute walk — or about a quarter-mile — are given maximum points but no points given after a 30-minute walk, which for some could be as much as two miles. To put that in perspective, one loop around downtown Rahway on foot is about a mile or so, and it’s about a half-mile walk from the train station down West Milton Avenue to St. Georges Avenue (a good barometer given the Deals plaza and other amenities nearby, i.e., pharmacy, grocery, restaurants, bar).