1. New York
Forgive New York for feeling it's earned this top spot fair and square.
Manhattan's 16 miles long and two miles wide and has been walkable since the days when the only other transportation option involved an animal. Densely packed areas such as Brooklyn's Fort Green, Park Slope and Carroll Gardens and Bay Ridge, Queens' Sunnyside and Astoria/Long Island City and the South Bronx, University Heights and Fordham neighborhoods in the Bronx are giving Manhattan a run for the money thanks to tightly packed areas that are only increasing in density.
"New York's narrow move past San Francisco in the 2011 ranking is largely a result of updated census data," Herst says. "There are more people living in more walkable neighborhoods in New York."
The Metropolitan Transit Authority is feeling every bit of that growth, too. Last year, the MTA moved more than 3.2 billion riders with its buses and subways, with more than two-thirds of that total riding the rails. That doesn't even count the 81 million commuter rail riders taking the Metro-North, another 95 million on the Long Island Railroad, 4.3 million on the Staten Island Railway and millions more coming in from New Jersey on PATH and NJ Transit trains.
Not only is the overwhelming majority of New York eminently walkable, but only 2% of all New Yorkers live in neighborhoods that require owning a car. The novelty of navigating Lincoln or Holland tunnel traffic or a Cross Bronx Expressway tie-up wears off just about as soon as a MetroCard enters a New Yorker's wallet.
-- Written by Jason Notte in Boston.
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