Of Course San Francisco Is the Most Walkable City in the Country

A new report shows the seven-by-seven is a biped’s paradise — and a perfect city to live in, sans a personal car.

Outside of New York City, San Francisco is the most densely packed metropolis in the country with about 6,266 people per square mile. (This figure, alone, is why single-family zoning should be non-existent in San Francisco — but here’s hoping the newly passed vacancy tax on multi-unit residential properties will mitigate the current housing crisis.) 

We have the most accessible public parks system in the country; every San Franciscan is, on average, no more than a 10-minute walk to a City-managed greenspace. You can literally run/walk/bike/scoot from one side of the city to the other in a single afternoon. Our affinity for public transport is unmatched… regardless of our situational headaches around BART’s lackluster punctuality.

San Francisco is a bastion of car-free corridors, proving that the pandemic-flamed notion of giving the streets back to the people is a sustainable and desirable idea. Look no further than the car-free JFK Promenade for IRL evidence of just this.

All of this is to wax pragmatic that San Francisco living isn’t synonymous with car ownership. And a recent report comparing hundreds of the largest cities in America shows that SF is the easiest city in the country to live without a personal vehicle.

LawnStarter, a national lawn car service company, conducted a comparison study of the 200 biggest U.S. cities to determine which have “car-free-friendliness,” using 19 indicators like pedestrian safety, a city’s walkability, and other factors.

Though San Francisco was 149th place in regards to safety, The City By the Bay came in at number one for “Access,” which includes the capability to walk to and from places, rent a bikeshare or hail rideshare, and board public transport. As for “Climate”? The city ranked 36th… which seems fairly low, given our year-round temperate weather — but it’s not surprising that SF came in 2nd in “Community Culture.”

Collectively, this means that San Francisco came in as the best city to live without a car… and, by proxy, making it the most walkable city in America.

The only other California metropolis to break into the top ten was Sunnyvale, mostly for its “Access” score; Oakland came in soon after at 12th place; Los Angeles is vibing at 14th place.

Let this be yet *another reason* why we all should celebrate car-free corridors en masse and push for more permanent (or at least semi-permanent) pedestrian promenades in San Francisco.

For more information on LawnStarter’s research metrics and to see the report in its entirety, visit lawnstarter.com/blog/studies/best-cities-for-living-without-a-car.

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