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Beta Data On Nabes Gives Users The Local Skinny

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"Point and click" is kind of like Legally Blonde's "bend and snap" except not as sexy or damaging to one's back. And there's now a new player on the block if readers are looking for uber-local info on DC nabes. With the beta launch of BlockAvenue, users can point and click to discover new venues, socially-engaged neighbors, awesome eateries, and even local sex offenders. The site sources all these data points from various sources to aggregate everything onto one platform. And to enhance the users' experiences, it combines "this information with real local reviews from people who actually live or frequent the location" to provide another layer of local knowledge. But like Apple's new Maps app, BlockAvenue ain't perfect yet, but it's coming along more than the bridges that lead to nowhere and streets that disappear into lakes.

Checking the site in the CoHi nabe, it does get down to the nitty gritty and can be surprisingly accurate. For example, BlockAvenue has info on Hi Market, a small corner grocery that no one knows about except those living in a few block vicinity of 15th Street and Fuller NW. Or the data point of the James Buchanan Memorial in Meridian Hill Park's southeastern corner. Old President Buchanan would be proud.

Strolling down 14th Street, which is currently a jungle of cranes as every other block has some development project going up, these data points need to be updated. For some hot spots, such as Bar Pilar, there are two points in the same vicinity creating a little cluster that makes the screen look messy and makes it a bit annoying for users. Even more annoying are points for places that don't even exist, like Pizza Hut at 14th Street and R, right where the Whitman-Walker Clinic is located. This will confuse users unless they are looking for both condoms and a personal pan pizza, which isn't that bad of a business idea.

The fact of the matter is BlockAvenue is pretty good in its current iteration, but only with the input from more users will it become more useful for knowing all the deets in the hood. So get on it, users. Point and click.

· BlockAvenue [Official Site]

All screenshots are from BlockAvenue.