Tenleytown Among DC’s Most Walkable Neighborhoods

Walk Score®, as reported by Curbed DC, has ranked Washington, DC as the seventh most walkable city in the United States.  As part of its rankings, Walk Score® also assessed 125 DC neighborhoods.  Tenleytown fell in the top 20 percent of neighborhoods, landing at number 24 on the list with a very walkable score of 87.  It even beat out neighboring Friendship Heights (#30) and AU Park (#46).

Access to public transit is rated excellent, while Walk Score® considers Tenleytown to be somewhat bikeable with a bike score of 58.

Walk Score Rating

According to the site, whose mission is “to promote walkable neighborhoods,” Tenleytown residents can enjoy 150 restaurants, bars and coffee shops, and “can walk to an average of 9 [of these establishments] in 5 minutes.” Walk Score® does not provide a list of restaurants.  While residents can probably find up to 10 within quick walking distance of their homes regardless of where they live, the estimate of 150 unique food and drink establishments within Tenleytown is overly optimistic – though certainly a goal to which we can aspire.

Surprisingly, and perhaps incredulously, the website claims that there is more violent and property crime in Tenleytown per person than on average for Washington, DC. No information is provided on the source of its statistics. For comparison, Walk Score® reports that “each year in Washington D.C., 11 violent crimes and 54 property crimes occur per 1,000 people.”

Walk Score® attributes Tenleytown with a population of just 500 residents, which would make it the smallest of the 125 reviewed neighborhoods.  This figure, again for which no source is provided, seems low.  A 2000 census, as reported by the Urban Studies and Planning Program at the University of Maryland, listed the population of Tenleytown as 2,257.  While The Washington Post online real estate section gives the population as 928. The DC Office of Planning, which provides official census data, does not provide neighborhood level population statistics on its website.

The boundaries used by Walk Score® for Tenleytown do not include any area south of Tenley Circle, leaving out a whole swath of the community.   Walk Score’s® confusion about where exactly Tenleytown lies is not surprising given the lack of consensus among academic, news and government sources – check three sources and you will get three different answers.  (Here’s what Google Maps shows.)  Oftentimes Tenleytown is lumped in with either AU Park or Friendship Heights or both.

This confusion speaks to a need for Tenleytown to brand itself more strongly.  Perhaps a welcome sign like this one letting people know when they have arrived in Tenleytown could help put the neighborhood on the (correct) map.

While it’s great to see Tenleytown receiving high scores for walkability, Walk Score® misses the mark in providing the data and sourcing to back up its ratings and neighborhood profiles.


What do you think?  Is Tenleytown a walkable, bikeable, transit friendly neighborhood? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.

And if you have a good source for population statistics for the community, please share that too!