At this time of the year, many of us head to the beach to enjoy the summer! One of many good things about the Shore is that lots of the beach communities are highly walkable and bikeable. Check out some of the Walkscores and associated ratings for beach towns below…remember, Princeton scores 68% on Walkscore:
- Belmar – 91% – “Walker’s Paradise”
- Ashbury Park – 95% – “Walker’s Paradise”
- Manasquan – 85% – “Very Walkable”
- Seaside Heights – 82% – “Very Walkable”
- Wildwood – 78% – “Very Walkable”
Why are Shore towns so often walkable? Over at City Theorist, Charley Ferrari argues that one reason is because many of these towns developed in the late 19th century, when a compact grid was favored:
“…these towns were developed and incorporated in the late 19th century, which partially explains why the form of the area east of Main Street are very compact grids, and in some areas the architecture is more Victorian…”
This kind of ‘Old New Urbanism’ places people close together, in easy walking or biking distance of stores, restaurants and amenities. Belmar, pictured above, in has a residential density of 5,544 people per sq mile, over 3x the density of Princeton! Having everything within easy reach was essential in a time before most people had cars, because people usually had to rely on what we now call ‘active transportation’ for getting around. In the present day, these beach towns have retained their walkable nature, which brings with it a distinct character that makes them fun places to hang out during the summer.
Of course, walkability shouldn’t be for the summer only! Lots of people walk and ride their bikes at the beach, but stick to cars back in Princeton. It’s true that outside of the vacation season, our lives are more hectic and the extra speed that comes with four wheels is often highly prized. But Princeton would be a more fun, less-greenhouse-gassed and healthier place if we all made an effort to ride and walk more year-round! Enjoy the beach- but this year- plan to bring some of the seaside atmosphere back with you in terms of transportation!!
What towns on the Shore do you think are the most walkable? Do you like walkable beach towns, or do you prefer quieter destinations with fewer people around? Leave a comment below!