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Old 05-28-2012, 03:37 PM
 
2,734 posts, read 5,352,799 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyurban View Post
Well then walkable communities aren't for you. Thats the beauty of having choices. Choosing a part of the city that fits your lifestyle. If you have a big family with pets and stuff, then further out of the city makes more economical sense. If I recall, I'm pretty sure that is what I said. But since america has a the more the marrier attitude, maybe a weeks worth of groceries can't fit in 3 bags.

As far as property values and stuff, maybe it's the choices of having nearby amenities that makes these neighborhoods more valuable. When they say walkable neighborhoods, it's saying that so many things are so close by that a majority of the neighborhood can walk to these things. (Parks, restaurants, schools, retail, etc...) Having more of a community feel is what makes a neighborhood valuable instead of cheap, bland, mass produced communities that warehouse people and their food.
If you're addressing that to me, I stand by my point--I would be happy to hear from all the folks here who manage to squeeze a week's worth of household groceries and supplies into 2 or 3 bags, without making multiple trips to other types of stores for some of it.

By the way, I live in one of those "highly walkable" areas.
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Old 05-28-2012, 04:31 PM
 
Location: Maine
2,478 posts, read 3,324,415 times
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Some of these posts give me the feeling that this study is done primarily to give a certain kind of mindset/lifestyle/neighborhood more status than other choices, even if other more affordable locations (or different lifestyle choices, such as rural areas) allow a person to do a similar amount of walking as more expensive urban areas. Perhaps these people want to claim walking as the new "elite" activity. "I am so evolved that I can purchase the expensive car and leave it parked in the parking garage while I walk to all my activities!" Only the poor people used to do that!

I did not read this study because the people probably assume that people cannot walk without sidewalks connecting them to a Starbucks. Most likely, it has as much credibility as the study that concluded DC is the happiest city in the US.

In agreement with everyone who said that even if you can walk from your residence to a grocery store in 5-10 minutes, if you are buying lots of groceries for a family (like 5 gallons of milk at a time) you will still need to drive a car.
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Old 05-28-2012, 04:43 PM
 
5,125 posts, read 9,909,671 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACWhite View Post

That may be true for the younger folks in both of those areas in the one bedroom condos. However, comparing the average income levels and property levels, without any controls, as was pointed out earlier with respect to price per square foot, comparing apples to oranges. Clarendon has a much younger population, on average, than does Great Falls. My hunch is that if you controlled for age, the income levels would likely be comparable, and that the average 40 - 50 year old householder who has bought in LV or OT in the last 10 years, for example, could easily afford GF and is pretty similar on professional or wealth grounds to his/her counterpart in GF. It's beside the point to debate this because that's not the point of the study, which is primarily to note (with evidence) that walkability is associated with higher prices per square foot. Whether this is directly attributable to walkability, or to other factors correlated with walkability, such as proximity to downtown DC, for example, I don't know.
I was not controlling for age, but instead making an observation based on reported income and property values in the respective areas. It wasn't obvious to me that one should do so, when some areas clearly have younger demographics than others. Maybe such comparisons are not the point of the study, but then I wasn't the poster who introduced the notion that areas with less walkability only attract low-end retail like Wal-Marts and Shoppers Food Warehouse. To me, that just seems like the type of nascent elitism (putting down a style of life because you don't like it) that irritates me, even though we personally moved a few years because we did seek a more walkable location closer to work. It just seemed like a better place to age, which I have been unable to prevent, despite the fact that some posters want the Baby Boomers to jump off a cliff.

As to the study you linked to, I agree that the primary point was to note that walkability was associated with higher prices per square foot, but it was not a comprehensive study of local communities, walkable or unwlkable, but instead a sample. Had the authors included a neighborhood like Petworth as an example of a walkable community, as opposed to an Adams Morgan or Dupont Circle, or a Great Falls or Potomac as an example of a less walkable community, as opposed to the Naylor Road area in Prince George's County, the results might have looked somewhat different. The bottom line is that, fairly read, it appears that limited inferences should be drawn from a study of this nature.

Last edited by JD984; 05-28-2012 at 05:35 PM..
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Old 05-28-2012, 05:00 PM
 
Location: Tysons Corner
2,772 posts, read 4,244,379 times
Reputation: 1504
Quote:
Originally Posted by ACWhite View Post
My hunch is that if you controlled for age, marital status, etc., the income levels would likely be comparable, and that the average 40 - 50 year old householder who has bought in LV or OT in the last 10 years, for example, could easily afford GF and is pretty similar on professional or wealth grounds to his/her counterpart in GF. It's beside the point to debate this because that's not the point of the study, which is primarily to note (with evidence) that walkability is associated with higher prices per square foot. Whether this is directly attributable to walkability, or to other factors correlated with walkability, such as proximity to downtown DC, for example, I don't know.
Anecdotally the CEO of my company lives in Arlington, and could likely afford to live in Great Falls, but she doesnt like 14' corinthian columns and baby cherubs peeing in marble fountains. She prefers a comfortable and fun life that doesn't end up looking like a Bravo documentary. Also I know atleast a dozen lawyers who also live in Arlington in the heart of the city and a few in Old Town, because again, they enjoy a fun life not one with closets bigger than one person could ever need where enjoyment in life comes from materialistic BS. I would guesstimate (though I have no way of telling without being rude/running the risk of being fired) that breaking 6 figures seems like a distant memory to them and they could likely also buy an over extended jerseylicious mansion.

Sorry for going off the hinges, and JEB I actually wasn't sending my anger towards you, most of my anger revolves around the issue I have with road funding and the lack of it coming from these "supposedly wealthy" areas even though connecting the roads in Great Falls or parts of Loudoun per capita costs 10 times more than areas in eastern fairfax (let alone the relative bargain of maintain urban gridded roads) and that the tax money coming from these "expensive homes" at best typically run 1.5 times more than the ones coming from the average units closer in.

*Cleaned up*
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Old 05-28-2012, 05:12 PM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,755 posts, read 10,519,566 times
Reputation: 3948
What drives housing values location-wise (other than school districts) is commute to the major job centers, regardless of mode of transportation. Yes, it's true that houses near Metro have a higher property value than houses not near the Metro--provided the latter are also not a quick drive to a major employment area, like DC, Old Town, or Tysons.

For example: Take a look at what houses cost in the Donaldson Run or Rivercrest sections of far North Arlington, near the Chain Bridge. Those are not walkable to Metrorail, practically speaking. But they're a quick hop on the GW Parkway into DC. So their prices are just as high as houses of the same size in Lyon Village. Or look at Great Falls; it could not be farther from the train--but driving, it's a quick shot to Tysons/McLean (and not much farther to DC) on Dolley Madison -and/or GW Parkway. It's also not far from the Dulles-area office buildings via the toll road/Dulles Greenway.

The places that really suffer are those that are not near Metro AND are more than a 30-minute drive to the nearest major downtowny area.

Last edited by Carlingtonian; 05-28-2012 at 05:26 PM..
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Old 05-28-2012, 05:22 PM
 
5,125 posts, read 9,909,671 times
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[quote=kevbros;24496137]

Quote:
Originally Posted by tysonsengineer View Post
Anecdotally the CEO of my company lives in Arlington, and could likely afford to live in Great Falls, but she doesnt like 14' corinthian columns and baby cherubs peeing in marble fountains. She prefers a comfortable and fun life that doesn't end up looking like a Bravo documentary. Also I know atleast a dozen lawyers who also live in Arlington in the heart of the city and a few in Old Town, because again, they enjoy a fun life not one with closets bigger than one person could ever need where enjoyment in life comes from materialistic BS. I would guesstimate (though I have no way of telling without being rude/running the risk of being fired) that breaking 6 figures seems like a distant memory to them and they could likely also buy an over extended jerseylicious mansion.

*Cleaned up*
There's a mirror image of that portrayal that compares the people who live a low-key lifestyle on a couple of acres in Great Falls, with 2-3 old cars, with materialistic CEOs and lawyers who live in houses that are too big for their lots in Arlington, or in new condos in DC with fancy names like "The Gatsby" and every modern appliance, and spend beyond their means in all the new high-end retail stores and restaurants that are drawn like moths to a flame to such walkable areas.

I just made this stuff up, but it surely has as much validity as your caricature of life among those who live in Great Falls. It ultimately underscores the point which I was making about studies like the Brookings report, which is that they are often quickly recast to support a particular person's preference, rather than actually read and understood for what they really mean. To be clear, AC White did not do so when posting the link, but that is the direction the thread subsequently was taking.

Last edited by JD984; 05-28-2012 at 05:50 PM..
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Old 05-28-2012, 05:51 PM
 
270 posts, read 896,101 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
I don't commute through town but I would like to be able to ride my bike to other parts than just East of Washington St for example to the area around the King St. Metro station.. Riding East to West you take your life in your hands.
There already is a safe way to King Street Metro from the Southeast quadrant of Old Town. Take Wilkes Street, which becomes a bike path through the Inter-City region and then links to the path that runs along the National Cemetery. There is a dedicated bike path entrance through the car barricades of the residential complex. Ride along the cemetery until the end and you are at the Whole Foods. From there just cross Duke et voila, King St Metro. The route is marked, safe, and easy.
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Old 05-28-2012, 06:55 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly NoVA and Phila
9,732 posts, read 15,443,514 times
Reputation: 10706
I don't think this is an urban versus suburban/rural distinction, necessarily. I think houses that are walkable within each city/town (whehter urban or suburban) are, overall, more desireable. For example, many people like Ashburn and want to move out there for more land/larger house, etc. But within Ashburn, there seems to be a premium for places like Brambleton where one is not tied to her car. No, one may not be doing a week's worth of grocery shopping by foot, but the family may be walking up to the town green for a concert or running up to the store for a loaf of bread. Livng somewhere walkable allows teenagers to do things on their own without depending on mom or dad for every activity.

Many towns in other areas outside of the DC Metro area have walkable downtowns that aren't urban, and there is usually a greater demand to live in these areas - thinking of NJ or PA here. It seems many people have realized that being dependent on cars has become costly and inconvenient as traffic becomes worse. I think this has spurred the growth of all of the very popular neo-tradtional towns such as Kentlends, Lakelands, King Farm, Brambleton, etc.

There will always be the contingent who wants to live in urban areas and those who want to live in rural areas. But for the vast majority of folks who seem to not live in either of those places, instead living in subdivisions in suburbs, the walkability factor seems to command a higher price tag.
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Old 05-28-2012, 08:04 PM
 
1,698 posts, read 2,261,148 times
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Tysonsengineer - I always enjoy your posts and find most of them informative and food for thought. I particularly admire the way you bring your experience in urban planning to bear and discuss cost benefit analysis. You have an obvious love and passion for what you do and I learn a lot from your posts. Reponding to earlier in this thread (it has seen a lot of traffic) I'd like to comment on your discussion of Franconia/Springfield. I agree that there's not a huge amount of local employment though if not in the retail trade, so many people drive to the military office complexes or downtown. But for personal (noncommuting) purposes, I live in the area and consider it quite walkable.

So what is considered "walkable"? My neighbors and I live in a lower economic scale suburban area with sidewalks. We can reach groceries/drugstores/general retail/schools/churches/banks/post office/library/park/restaurants/365 day available public transport within a ten minute walk. The metro station, movie theaters, extensive shopping, more parks, river walk, farmers market, etc. are reachable on foot in 30 minutes. It's perfectly safe to walk day or night. However, my area is still considered downmarket and quote unwalkable unquote because it isn't lined with cute artisanal sidewalk bistros, boutique windowshopping opportunities browsing euro-discard-antiques and/or hand-embroidered Nepalese yakherder ponchos, and lined with wrought-iron lamp-posts dangling baskets of petunias. I'm not grousing though, I'm delighted with our location so close to downtown and affordable on a modest budget. So keep spreading the word about how unsatisfactory and unworkable Springfield/Franconia is so we can continue to pay less than half of real estate prices in neighboring Alexandria/Arlington/Vienna to enjoy one of the last close-in pleasant and affordable NoVA neighborhoods.
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:05 PM
 
1,107 posts, read 2,818,161 times
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Lets just say that as long as there is options other than driving, I'm fine with it. I would not want to live in a place where everything is spread out with very little options of getting around. I'm fine w/ grocery stores being a little far, we do need a car as we do carry heavy loads (rice bags, etc) but I don't want to be restricted to just driving to get around places. I would use the car for leisurely reasons, carrying people and hauling stuff. It's all in an act of balance.
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