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Old 09-21-2010, 11:47 AM
 
Location: You want kimchi with that?
8,479 posts, read 6,086,629 times
Reputation: 2184

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'"Attractive" to you means "neatly arranged'

not necessarily, some groupings of different elements come together naturally, like forest.

I have yet to see a forest that resembled a shopping center parking lot.
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Old 09-21-2010, 11:54 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC (formerly Vienna, VA)
5,928 posts, read 6,221,736 times
Reputation: 4475
When I think of a town or neighborhood being "walkable" I think of walkable to places - not just being able to take a walk. Where I grew up, I could take a walk in my neighborhood - there were plenty of sidewalks on both sides of the street and beautiful homes to look at. But I could not walk anywhere as a destination. I needed a car to go to the store, the library, and the post office. I did not consider that a walkable neighborhood.

Where I live now, it is a walkable neighborhood in that I can walk to amenities without using my car. If my car is in the shop for the day, I can still walk to the grocery store, the post office, the library. When we had guests from out of the country one summer, we left them in our house while my husband and I went off to work. They walked to the Metro to visit DC. They came home to our house then walked to the grocery store to pick up things for dinner.

A car-centric neighborhood is one where you could not walk to such amenities but need a car to drive to them.

An in-between neighborhood would be one that you could walk to a few places such as a strip mall but not to all amenities.

A very useful walkability site that is often discussed on C-D is www.walkscore.com. While it's not a perfect site, it allows you to key in your address and get a score based on how walkable your home is. By walkable they mean to groceries, banks, parks, libraries, etc. The score for my house is 72, very walkable.

Last edited by michgc; 09-21-2010 at 12:29 PM..
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Old 09-21-2010, 11:56 AM
 
2,594 posts, read 2,388,901 times
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Actually, the OP was:

Looking mainly for walkable and pedestrian friendly. You're able to easily walk out of your house and go rent a movie or eat at a restaurant without having to get into your car to do so.

So I had in mind not just "walkable" but also pedestrian friendly - he mentioned "with a kid" also - and "easily" and also that there would be just about everything you could want there, including your main entertainment needs. So a place like Elden street wouldn't easily qualify in my mind, because it's just not "easy," due to the street crossing, and not big enough to meet all those needs. I mean, you can probably grab a bite to eat or pick up something you forgot at the grocery store (and I know that's no small thing in NOVA), but it wouldn't be your mainstay for going out at night or during the day. You'd still be driving most of the time. Same for most of the other arguable areas in this thread.

Contrast that to Old Town, which has enough restaurants that you almost never want to go anywhere else, has a happening night life, concerts, events, etc. And not just once or twice a year, but every day. You can nearly always find something going on there. You can buy anything you want, from doggie cookies to designer shoes. You can sit in numerous parks, hang out at the waterfront, get your picture taken with a parrot. When I lived there I never had to wonder what to do with my day, because I could just walk outside my door. I mean, you can walk around OT for an entire day and not see and do everything. And other than route 1 and Washington, there are no major, wide streets. Most of the streets are single lane, and friendlier to pedestrians than cars. You just can't compare that to a two or three square block area that is divided by four lane highways.

Also, you have to consider the usefulness of those areas for a house hunter. If the "walkable" area is one or two blocks, then the houses from which you can walk to it are going to be pretty limited. Especially if it's a sprawling ranch-style neighborhood rather than city rowhouses.

So I realize that there are some places that are walkable to varying degrees outside of Alexandria and Arlington, but I think people who insist they are just as good if not better are just being argumentative. And whoever said GMU is walkable to Fairfax city should go and take that walk one day. With a kid.
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Old 09-21-2010, 12:04 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 17,958,419 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynborndad View Post
"I see plenty of people walking to the strip mall where I live, so I guess they must consider it attractive enough to walk there--even though they have to look at a parking lot."

maybe. Or maybe there is no more attractive alternative available in the area.
"there is no more attractive alternative available in the area" is one of those phrases that can be applied to any area, including those with storefronts. No matter how attractive or unattractive you think your shopping area is, there are only so many alternative shopping areas you can walk to.

Returning to your argument... you said an area has to be attractive or people won't walk there. So, going by your own logic, if people are walking there then the shopping area is attractive to them. If it wasn't attractive, they wouldn't walk there. Whether or not there are alternatives is a moot point.

Again, not to keep bringing up the same point but the question was "What neighborhoods are walkable" not "does it appeal to your particular taste".
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Old 09-21-2010, 12:12 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 17,958,419 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marie5v View Post
Also, you have to consider the usefulness of those areas for a house hunter. If the "walkable" area is one or two blocks, then the houses from which you can walk to it are going to be pretty limited. Especially if it's a sprawling ranch-style neighborhood rather than city rowhouses.
Fair enough, I guess everyone has a different definition of what's walkable for them. If that's how you want to define walkable, it's cool. Personally, I'm a big fan of walking. I walk almost every day and have all my life, so I've also made it a point to raise my children to be that way, too. By the time a child in my family is old enough for school, they're old enough to go hiking and take long walks. Every child in my family can walk at least as far as their school, and I encourage them to do so. That's one reason I'm still fit, even at my age (and even after a brush with cancer). Walking is very good for you. But, different strokes for different folks.

I realize that in today's world there are people who will drive even when they live just a block away (and they do this in Arlington and Alexandria just as much as in the suburbs.) I used to see people drive to the gym (two blocks away) and then fight to get the parking space closest to the gym. Sad.

Just remember, if you're going to have this confining definition of walkable, it also means that anyone living more than 2 blocks from Old Town no longer lives in a walkable neighborhood.
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Old 09-21-2010, 12:20 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 17,958,419 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marie5v View Post
So a place like Elden street wouldn't easily qualify in my mind, because it's just not "easy," due to the street crossing, and not big enough to meet all those needs.
Fair enough, although it is quite possible to live in Herndon without needing to cross Elden. I will agree, though, that having a bridge over Elden or a tunnel underneath it would be a great asset.
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Old 09-21-2010, 12:41 PM
 
Location: You want kimchi with that?
8,479 posts, read 6,086,629 times
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""there is no more attractive alternative available in the area" is one of those phrases that can be applied to any area, including those with storefronts. No matter how attractive or unattractive you think your shopping area is, there are only so many alternative shopping areas you can walk to."


Yes. But I think all other things being equal, a street of storefronts will get more pedestrians than a street of shopping malls. I do NOT have a study handy. I do think there is a literature on this though.


"Returning to your argument... you said an area has to be attractive or people won't walk there. So, going by your own logic, if people are walking there then the shopping area is attractive to them. If it wasn't attractive, they wouldn't walk there. Whether or not there are alternatives is a moot point. "

No, thats not my logic. My logic is that when its MORE attractive, MORE people will walk, and it will become safer and more comfortable for pedestrians. I do not see walkable as a binary. There is a range of degrees of walkability.
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Old 09-21-2010, 12:46 PM
 
Location: You want kimchi with that?
8,479 posts, read 6,086,629 times
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"What neighborhoods are walkable" not "does it appeal to your particular taste"."

I am sure somewhere there is someone likes walking past junk yards, with barbed wire fences and dobermans. If you are going to suggest that a house that has access to lots of nice shops is walkable when the only path to them is past that, well, I don't think you are being terribly informative.

Some aesthetic issues are abitrary. Some are widely held in a given culture. Some have a logic behind them that will make them close to universal.
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Old 09-21-2010, 12:54 PM
 
2,594 posts, read 2,388,901 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by normie View Post
Fair enough, I guess everyone has a different definition of what's walkable for them. If that's how you want to define walkable, it's cool. Personally, I'm a big fan of walking. I walk almost every day and have all my life, so I've also made it a point to raise my children to be that way, too. By the time a child in my family is old enough for school, they're old enough to go hiking and take long walks. Every child in my family can walk at least as far as their school, and I encourage them to do so. That's one reason I'm still fit, even at my age (and even after a brush with cancer). Walking is very good for you. But, different strokes for different folks.

I realize that in today's world there are people who will drive even when they live just a block away (and they do this in Arlington and Alexandria just as much as in the suburbs.) I used to see people drive to the gym (two blocks away) and then fight to get the parking space closest to the gym. Sad.

Just remember, if you're going to have this confining definition of walkable, it also means that anyone living more than 2 blocks from Old Town no longer lives in a walkable neighborhood.
This is what I mean by just being argumentative. You cannot logically infer any of what you are arguing against from what I wrote. Also, your comment on Old Town is not accurate no matter how it is read, as OT is quite large and the commercial areas spread throughout rather than limited to a few blocks. Finally, hiking is great, walking is great, but taking a walk is not the same as *easily* walking to movies, restaurants, etc. I take lots of walks now, even occasional jogs, but unless I crash a neighbor's barbeque there's no way to get dinner while I'm doing it. I don't even know why I continue to post in this thread - it's getting silly.
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Old 09-21-2010, 01:15 PM
 
Location: In the woods
3,286 posts, read 5,173,987 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marie5v View Post
So I realize that there are some places that are walkable to varying degrees outside of Alexandria and Arlington, but I think people who insist they are just as good if not better are just being argumentative. And whoever said GMU is walkable to Fairfax city should go and take that walk one day. With a kid.
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