Well, it depends on exactly where you stand. This question is typically raised by people considering a move to Montclair, as they wander around the confusing topography.
Here’s one tool that delivers a walk score related to nearby shopping, schools and parks. These calculations are supposed to measure how “easy it is to live a car-lite lifestyle.” When you achieve 70/100, then it’s possible to go car-free.
Of course, Montclair scores depend the delta between you and the Village. If you live next to the coffee shops, then you’re in luck: Thornhill Coffee Shop rates a 69/100, while Peets jumps to 88/100.
When you live higher up, it’s not practical to shop on foot. Redwood Regional Park (Skyline) rates a paltry 8/100, surrounded by nature and a few ridge line homes.
As you move through the hills, the walk scores don’t improve much. Places like Farallon Way (26), Robin Hood Way (35) and Ascot Drive (also 35) are far from stores or other services.
Still there are walkers out there. We have an Oakland walking map that marks ideal streets and staircases, and use it frequently. Yet most folks are exercising their dogs or themselves, rather than shopping.
The upshot? Cars remain a way of life around these parts. We’re dependent on guzzlers for work commutes and daily errands too.