5 Walkable Cities

San Francisco
San Francisco has kept an eye on urban growth.
San Francisco has kept an eye on urban growth.
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

­San Francisco is a walkers' dream, and­ not just because of the mild weather (forget the hills). Only 1 percent of residents live in car-dependent neighborhoods. And a whopping 99 percent of neighborhoods score at least a 50 out of 100 on Walk Score's rankings -- the city itself ranks 86 out of 100 [source: Walk Score].

­Since the early 1970s San Francisco's urban growth plan has kept the relationship between people and their environment at the forefront. Each neighborhood has a distinct feel and manages to combine people's needs -- everything from housing, educational institutions and green space to retail and industry, all with safety in mind. One key piece to this urban growth plan is the San Francisco Municipal Railway system (Muni). Muni run 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is a combination of historic streetcars, commuter rail, diesel buses, alternative fuel vehicles, electric trolley cars and, of course, the famous cable cars. It's been connecting San Francisco's neighborhoods since 1912, and today stops within 2 blocks of 90 percent of all city residences -- more than 200 million people ride each year [source: SFMTA].

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