Best U.S. Cities for Public Transportation According to Walk Score

Posted by Judy Orr on Monday, February 3rd, 2014 at 10:39pm.

Oak Lawn Metra train depot


I've been reading and posting a lot of lists lately.   Most national lists only name big metropolitan cities.  However, we've had two southwest suburbs on a couple great lists, both put out by Money Magazine.  Orland Park was on the list of 100 of the best places to live in the U.S. and Tinley Park appeared as one of the best cities to raise a family in.

The Top Five Cities for Public Transportation Are...

  1. New York with a transit score of 81
  2. San Francisco at 80
  3. Boston at 75
  4. Washington D.C. at 70
  5. Philadelphia at 67

The above cities are the best to go car-less.  Were you expecting to see Chicago?  Chicago was under Philadelphia at a score of 65, making it the sixth best U.S. cities for public transit.  I've sold a few condos downtown and as a suburbanite I find it funny how many residents try not to use their cars for fear of losing their parking space, so they use public transportation unless they're traveling too far or out of the city.  My last Chicago buyers got lucky as they got a parking spot with their condo.

Is Transit Score Important to You?

This article is about something I didn't know Walk Score provided called transit score.  Since I work mainly in the southwest Chicago suburbs, there are buyers that want to be near one of the train stations to get downtown.  Once in a while someone will be interested in living within walking distance of a bus stop, but that's rare.

Orland Park and other southwest suburbs have condo/townhome complexes within walking distance to train stations.   On one hand we usually tell buyers not to purchase a property too close to train tracks.  But there are circumstances where people that work downtown prefer not to have to drive to the train station and pay for that, plus pay for their train ride plus possible public transportation once they get downtown.  So in certain instances complexes built close to the stations specifically to attract people that work downtown are acceptable, although once they go up for resale they do need to attract the same type of buyer.

Oak Lawn built several condo complexes within walking distance to the train station but some "newbie investors" lost a lot of money buying at pre-sale prices and trying to sell when the real estate bubble burst.  There are still foreclosures in those buildings.

To see how Walk Score creates these rankings click here.

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