As an echo to Erin's post (Moving on Up?), I'd like to share my own journey of homebuying, which began long ago a suburban town far, far away -- before WalkScore was even a pixel in a dream.
Hailing from the Motor City, my family was all about cars. Cars were for fun, for competition, and for practical things like driving...everywhere. The idea of walking was out of the question, whether it was to the store, school, or a friend's house a couple of streets away.
This mentality followed us to Phoenix, where we lived in a golf-course community filled with lush grass, man-made lakes and twisty cul-de-sacs. Picture this oasis housed in the Valley's gargantuan street grid that only provided traffic lights once a mile. (We called the distance between lights a "block." Yikes.)
The same was true living in Tucson, where we did walk a bit more as poor, carless college students, but only until one of us eventually bought a vehicle. From over 25 years as an avid suburbanite, the move to Seattle was culture shock.
I lived in Belltown for a couple of years, then bought a home close to White Center, which again found me in my car for everything -- the grocery store, the corner store, haircuts, the gym, my job, etc. Part of it was for safety's sake, part was that we were so far away from stores or bus stops that walking was just too inconvenient. If I wanted a walk I usually [gulp] drove down to Alki.
After I sold the house and I moved back to Belltown, things improved. I was able to work on the waterfront, and out to coffee shops and restaurants in the evenings and on the weekend. The rent was high, but now I lived in walking distance to my new gym and the Olympic Sculpture Park. Still, I felt annoyed that I still had to get in my car to get to the grocery store, the bank, the post office and Bartell's.
This fall, I found mecca: an apartment in Lower Queen Anne with a WalkScore of 97 -- and several hundred dollars cheaper than what I paid downtown. I have 3 bus lines right outside my door, and several more just blocks away. My neighborhood has every service I can possibly need, as well as friendly local business owners and my favorite lounge filled with fellow patrons who actually do know my name.
In this new utopia, there's nothing better than days like today: 70 degrees sitting out at my Caffe Ladro where the baristas know what I drink, reading Jane Jacobs in the sunshine, and running into a good friend (and neighbor) who I haven't seen in a while as he made his way to MetMarket.
Now this feels like a sustainable life!