I finally got around to seeing The Fighter, and was impressed to see some very nice sections of town far off of the main streets I know. Many of them appear to be in the Outer Highlands on streets you're not going to find by accident. A conversation with my girlfriend on the way home brought up where we'd like to live someday, and I would love to stay in Lowell. However, there is a complex cross between her desires for a little more space and greenery and my desires to have interesting places to walk to. So, into this equation comes walkscore.com.
Walkscore.com is a site that you can give your address to and it uses I believe Google to figure out how many different amenities are within walking distance of your house. They have full gradient maps of some of the larger towns, and Lowell is fortunate enough to be included:
Sadly, it is clear from the map that Upper Belvidere, the Outer Highlands, and West Pawtucketville are all bright, bright red, meaning very little is available on foot. Dowtown, Back Central, parts of the Acre, Lower Belvidere, and Lower Centralville are all the most green. But of course, those are Lowell's only real urban sections.
What do people think? Is this tool fair? It doesn't take into consideration deep parking lots and wide roads that impede foot traffic like exist on Rogers Street. The method the map uses to find businesses is actually a little too liberal as well, as it only looks for certain words. For example, it identifies some home-based business with the word "market" in it on Lincoln Parkway as a grocery store, when clearly it is not. Personally, I am looking for a place that is about a 10 minute walk or less, on safe sidewalks through safe neighborhoods, from a cup of coffee, a loaf of bread and a bottle of milk, and an active-use park. Where are Lowell's best options for this?