Some years ago a candidate for the Mayor of Paris, France proposed she would make sure Paris was a “15 minute city” with access to the essential commercial and public facilities within a 15 minute walk of each resident. That idea has caught on with urban density advocates and is part of the motivation for proposed upzones in Seattle. Recently a UW graduate student, Nat Henry, asked himself if he could map Seattle to see where it is already a “15 minute city” and where it lacks facilities. His maps are interactive, that is you can select what you consider to be essential and the map will change its evaluation of your block.
Here are two maps for Wallingford. The first shows the parts of Wallingford that are within a 15 minute walk of (all of) supermarkets, libraries, parks, bus stops to downtown and restaurants in blue and green. The parts in tan are 15 to 20 walking minutes away and the darker brown parts are 20 to 25 minutes walking distance from all the selected commercial essentials. The large white area in the middle of the map is the Wallingford Playfield and Hamilton Middle School. For the tan areas north of N/NE 36th St it is the distance to the Wallingford library branch that is more than 15 minutes. South of N/NE 36th St it is also farther to the supermarket. Similarly in Tangletown it is the library and the supermarket that are more than 15 minutes away.
The second adds in the requirement to be within a 15 minute walk of the Link Light Rail station in the U District.
These maps are not showing walking distances to schools because the map database seems to not have included John Stanford or McDonald and Lincoln appears to be misplaced west. Similarly, the tan areas in Tangletown suggests the 56th St Market is not included as a “supermarket” although it is certainly an adequate neighborhood market. The use of a 15 minute walkshed for access to a conventional bus raises some questions. In my experience the distance most folks consider reasonable to walk to a bus is 10 minutes. Research has shown that commuters try to limit their commute to work time to 20 minutes and substitute other methods when one method exceeds that.
This map suggests most of Wallingford has already achieved the City goal of being a “15 minute city” and, thus, does not need to be a candidate for any additional rezoning.