Walking anywhere in Miami often feels like running the trenches in World War I: randomly placed barbed wire tears at your clothing, errant bombs -- or in this case, cars -- send you diving into muddy ditches, and it's hard not to trip over the occasional dead body or two.
So it comes as a surprise to just about anybody who actually lives in Miami that the city has been ranked the 8th most walkable in the U.S. by the Sightline Institute's Walk Score program.
Apparently, proximity to a Pollo Tropical is heavily weighted.
The suggestion that the endless car-park we live in could grace the same top ten list as New York, Boston, D.C., or San Francisco -- where a coffee shop great you on each corner like one of those marathon water boys, urging you on to the next one -- has drawn some local criticism.
Over at Transit Miami, Tony Garcia argues that the Walk Score program instantly drops to Chad Henne-levels of reliability by placing Miami in its top ten.
"Though this might come as a shock to most Miamians because of the city's dismal walkability in real life, the Walk Score researchers use a computer algorithm to correlate population density to 'neighborhood amenities,'" Garcia writes. "Unfortunately, this metric has nothing to do with the factors that acually make a city walkable, such as street design, pedestrian safety, transit, etc."
The study's reliability isn't helped by its neighborhood-by-neighborhood breakdown. Unsurprisingly, downtown and Brickell are top of the list (Miami Beach isn't included). But Little Havana is strangely in a close third.
Little Havana? Where the only people brave enough to cross Calle Ocho on foot are viejitos zapped on Versailles coffee and mumbling about Fidel?
1 Downtown 86
2 Brickell 83
3 Little Havana 82
4 Wynwood / Edgewater 81
5 Overtown 76
6 North/East Coconut Grove 75
7 Shenandoah 74
8 Upper Eastside 72
9 Little Haiti 72
10 Coral Way 71
11 Alameda / West Flagler 69
12 Allapattah 67
13 South/West Coconut Grove 67
14 Flagami 66
15 Liberty City 58
16 Fair Isle 46
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Although the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization is already touting the city's walkability, Garcia points out that Miami is actually hella-dangerous for pedestrians.
We put the question to Miami-resident and internationally renowned urban planner Andrés Duany.
"No, Miami's doesn't have nearly enough walkable spaces," he said. "And I'm not sure it's going in the right direction."