2. San Francisco
Walk Score considered it the most walkable city in America back in 2008 and it probably still would be if more New Yorkers weren't paying exorbitant sums for shoeboxes in SoHo or "lofts" with a few hundred feet on the Lower East Side.
There hasn't been a whole lot of change since then, which is just how residents who've tried to minimize car-related change like it. San Francisco's compact, concise layout didn't take the car into consideration when it was incorporated in 1850 or after it was rebuilt following the 1906 earthquake. Even while the rest of America was having a love affair with the car during the 1950s, local protesters were busy stopping freeways from running through town.
As a result, 17 of its neighborhoods rank among the top 150 most walkable in the country, with Chinatown and the Financial District sitting behind only New York's TriBeCa, SoHo and Little Italy. Only 1% of the city lives in areas dependent on cars.
This has made the city's mass transit especially vital. Despite the expense and lack of deals for monthly passes, the Bay Area Rapid Transit subway system carried more than 100 million passengers last year and the San Francisco Municipal Railway took on another 209.5 million. That doesn't include other commuter rail and bus service from Silicon Valley and elsewhere that added more than 20 million riders to the mix. San Francisco might want to consider clamoring for a walkability recount.
"The margin is very small," Herst says. "Both cities and very walkable and we're calling on our community to vote for the city they think is more walkable to help break the virtual tie."