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10 Most Walkable Cities of 2011

9. Minneapolis, Minn.
Walk Score: 69.3
Walk Score decided to split up the Twin Cities for its rankings, allowing only Minneapolis to enter the rankings after a bump in its census numbers since 2008. As if the recent budget battle didn't give Minnesotans enough to argue about.

The city's Westernmost portion of downtown near the Target (TGT - Get Report) Center, the neighborhood around Loring Park and the Metropolitan State University campus and Lowry Hill near Mueller Park and all the way to the east bank of Lake of the Isles are among the most walkable neighborhoods in the country. A grid layout filled with short blocks, multiple parks and lakes, long stretches of riverfront and ample public transportation is the secret to Minneapolis walking success, but don't discount the need to get to places quickly and conveniently during bitter winters and the need for outdoor spaces once that pent-up winter energy is released in the summer.

Minneapolis' Metro Transit deserves at least some credit for the easy going after handling 78 million riders last year. The overwhelming 66 million majority takes the bus, but the light rail's 10 million riders were a 6% improvement from a year earlier and a sign of steady growth.

Still, the clustering of amenities such as the Twins' Target Field, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome and several universities around the midpoint between Minneapolis and St. Paul is a testament to city planning that figures in the neighboring Twin City. Minneapolis comes away slightly more manageable, however, with only 13% of the city needing a car to perform regular daily tasks.

Had Walk Score taken St. Paul's walkability into account, however, the combined area would have received a 65.5 and likely been knocked out of the Top 10. That's still a metro area worth living in, but Minneapolis has the density part down just a little better than its neighbor to the east.

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