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You can’t beat Hamtown for walking

By Alan R. Madeleine

When was the last time you took a good walk around Hamtramck?

Well, according to walkscore.com, maybe you should. Because this city is Number One in all of Michigan.

Numero Uno, Top Dog, Big Enchilada.

Michigan’s Number One Most Walkable City. Worth the capital letters, wouldn’t you say?

Fabulous Ferndale? Second best, cowboy. Ritzy Birmingham? Merely fifth, m’lady. Brainy Ann Arbor? Tied for sixth, Einstein. Hipster Royal Oak? Ditto, DJ Goatee.

Nope, we’ve topped them all. In fact, we beat runner-up Ferndale by five full points.

Turning in the sexy score of 69, in fact, we beat L.A. and Santa Barbara. Key West. Ft. Lauderdale. Honolulu. Portland. Atlantic City.

The list goes on.

Of course, the flipside is, we were downed by Hoboken and Hackensack. But why dwell?

We hammered Houston. Destroyed Dallas. The Alamo? Forget it — we shot up San Antonio.

None of this should surprise locals. Every good Hamtramckan knows that you can walk out your front door, turn left (or right, or go straight ahead) and within mere minutes, you’ll be at that grocery store. Clothing store. Laundromat. Restaurant.

Bar.

Bottoms up there, pedestrian!

Did I mention we out-jazzed both New Orleans and St. Louis? Goin’ to Kansas City, are you? You won’t find the hoofin’ as gratifying as right here in good old Hamtown!

Congratulatory emails flew when people first started finding out late last month. Finally, national validation with a positive tone. Mayor Majewski asked that a link to the Walk Score website be provided on the city’s own homepage.

Walkscore.com began four years ago. Its introductory page describes it as having the mission to “promote walkable neighborhoods.” To that end, it has a professional arm that assists realtors to help market their for-sale properties by incorporating their “walk score”: a combined rating, or algorithm (on a related note: did Al Gore invent the algorithm?), explained fully at walkscore.com/methodology.shtml.

It assigns point values for the ease of getting to various amenities by foot, and is concerned with “how easy it is to live a car-free lifestyle – not how pretty the area is for walking.”

And that’s probably fortunate for Hamtramck, a city where it’s easy to find what you need – but where you may not want to look down at the sidewalk while you’re getting there.

Still, this is a big boon for the town. In fact, Walk Score claims that “one point… is worth up to $3000 of value for your property.” Arguable, for sure, but it looks good in print, and that may be all that matters.

In a year with a lot of bad news, Hamtramck will take it: a well-deserved honor that can really be a boost to the local housing market and economy.

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