Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Madison Park makes top-20 ranking

I’m not sure that this can be considered a particularly noteworthy honor, but Madison Park is ranked Number 20 on Seattle Magazine’s recent list of Seattle’s 60 best neighborhoods. “Madison Park enclave Broadmoor,” however, makes the list at Number 8, just behind Madison Valley, at Number 7. The list is highly subjective, and there appears to be no obvious method to the magazine’s madness in creating its rankings. There are multiple paragraphs detailing the source of information for the various categories used in creating the list, but there is no explanation of how these categories were weighted.

Given the magazine’s stated criteria concerning housing affordability as the “key to continued dynamic growth in our area,” it is interesting that Broadmoor (with its supposed $2,009,000 median house price) ranked so high, while Madison Park as a whole (with its stated $792,500 median house price) was so far down the list. I guess it’s just that Broadmoor is eminently affordable for the wealthy, while the rest of the Park is considered pricey for the less wealthy.

Or maybe the magazine places high value in its belief that the commutes to downtown Seattle and to Redmond (two of the ranking criteria) are significantly shorter for people in Broadmoor than for the rest of Madison Park. (Are are we really five minutes further away from Redmond; and if so, do very many of us care?) These are the only two categories in which Broadmoor ranked higher, unless you want to count the fact that $2+ million gets you more bedrooms and bathrooms per median house than $792,500 does. Crimes per resident, park acreage, and percentage of fourth graders passing the WASL were the other criteria for the rankings. Oh, and for some reason, the appreciation (or not) of median house values from 2007-2008 was an important element. (Madison Valley was down 1%, Broadmoor was up 1% and Madison Park was up 4%).

Personally, I suspect that Seattle Magazine’s staff voted on their favorite neighborhoods in order to create the list. The magazine certainly does not seem to be particularly aware of Madison Park. In the “Neighborhoods” section of the magazine’s website, for example, the “Madison Park/Madrona” webpage devotes 200 words to describing the pleasures of Madrona, but there’s not a single word about Madison Park. This didn’t help Madrona in the listings, however, as it was ranked Number 33. Leschi, on the other hand, barely made the list at Number 60, just below Judkins Park! Really?

Frankly, I think the list is screwy. However, for those who are interested but unwilling to actually buy the August issue of the magazine, here’s the top ten list: Queen Anne, View Ridge, Alki/Admiral, Phinney Ridge, Magnolia, Delridge, Madison Valley, Broadmoor, Capitol Hill, and Roosevelt. The Seattle and suburban Seattle neighborhood rankings are not available on the seattlemag.com website.

[Sour-Grapes Disclosure: My impression of Seattle Magazine’s neighborhood rankings is in no way influenced by the fact that a story on best neighborhood blogs in the same issue of the magazine did not list Madison Park Blogger as among “the cream of the crop.” Actually, this blog was not mentioned in any context, but neither was the Central District News, which certainly deserved comment.]

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