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Old 05-29-2012, 05:23 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,129 posts, read 29,125,479 times
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Seems most walkable places are those that were around before the 60s.. I think that's true around the world. Since much of NoVA was farmland back then, it's understandable why there's so little now that fits the description.
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Old 05-29-2012, 05:44 AM
 
Location: Maine
2,331 posts, read 3,036,638 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
Seems most walkable places are those that were around before the 60s.. I think that's true around the world. Since much of NoVA was farmland back then, it's understandable why there's so little now that fits the description.
I disagree. In Northern Virginia, Burke/Burke Centre, West Springfield, Ashburn, and (from information posted here) Brambleton are very walkable communities that were built during or after the 1960s. Several libraries, shopping centers, schools, and recreational facilities are located in these areas and people do walk to them.
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Old 05-29-2012, 06:59 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 29,026,331 times
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Originally Posted by Fern435 View Post
I disagree. In Northern Virginia, Burke/Burke Centre, West Springfield, Ashburn, and (from information posted here) Brambleton are very walkable communities that were built during or after the 1960s. Several libraries, shopping centers, schools, and recreational facilities are located in these areas and people do walk to them.
Not to mention Reston, Cascades, the Govt. Center, and dozens of other communities built in recent decades. But haven't we pointed this out enough times already? Using the search tool, I find 355 threads that discuss walkability in Nova suburbs. We've helped a number of people who had jobs in western Fairfax/eastern Loudoun and needed to find neighborhoods near the job so they would be able to walk to work--but I guess that gets forgotten once those people are helped out and move on. I've talked about how I live out in the burbs and easily walk to work and to the store on m way home from work so many times you guys ought to be able to quote it from memory. Doesn't sink in, apparently. I've also personally wasted hours and hours posting photos showing how walkable many of the newer communities are, besides the one I live and work in, but I guess what's the point? It seems no matter how much evidence we show to the contrary, the people who don't want to believe the newer, outer burbs do indeed have many walkable communities are not going to believe it. <sigh>

I'm bored and have better things to do than write the same rebuttals over and over. So, from now on I'm just posting links to the many many threads on this topic.

If you want to read about how walkable the suburban areas of Nova are or see ample photos showing how walkable the newer planned suburbs are, here are at least a dozen threads where it's been discussed ad nauseum. Or use the search engine to find more:

http://www.city-data.com/forum/north...it-served.html

http://www.city-data.com/forum/north...dc-so-far.html Discussion of walkability in the burbs starts around last 2-3 pages of this thread.

http://www.city-data.com/forum/23824811-post86.html

http://www.city-data.com/forum/north...ing-paths.html

http://www.city-data.com/forum/north...e-helpful.html Length discussion of walking in the outerburbs in the last half of this thread.

http://www.city-data.com/forum/north...ce-reston.html

http://www.city-data.com/forum/north...-you-nova.html

http://www.city-data.com/forum/north...excursion.html

http://www.city-data.com/forum/north...l#post20430090 (Long discussion of walkability in the burbs and series of photos showing evidence begins around page 3 of this lentghy thread.)

http://www.city-data.com/forum/north...a-suburbs.html

http://www.city-data.com/forum/north...empirical.html

http://www.city-data.com/forum/north...ring-your.html

http://www.city-data.com/forum/north...arts-nova.html

Photos tours of various suburban neighborhoods showing plenty of walkability in the burbs:
Reston-Town Center and Lake Anne
Cascades/Lowes Island (a part of the northern section of Sterling)
Brambleton (a part of western Ashburn)
Fair Lakes
Herndon

Last edited by Caladium; 05-29-2012 at 07:15 AM..
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Old 05-29-2012, 07:06 AM
 
Location: Tysons Corner
2,772 posts, read 3,985,159 times
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Caladium, its not that your points are being ignored, its that 95% of the examples provided are of recreational trails and walk ways. Those are great if you really want to go from point A to point B and don't want to use a car, but true walkability means the ability to be within reach of multiple uses without the need of a hiking trek.

RTC has this to some extent, I lived in Burke for 17 years and know the area quite well, and to describe it as walkable is either a very focused region of burke or just not accurate. I mean can you walk to things? Sure a 15-25 minute walk will get you to some other uses/groceries, but thats NOT walkability. A walkable neighborhood means it would take you just as long to drive and park as to bike and that the same path ways could be used for both.
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Old 05-29-2012, 07:57 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,754 posts, read 9,846,766 times
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Originally Posted by tysonsengineer View Post
... true walkability means the ability to be within reach of multiple uses without the need of a hiking trek.
Says who?

If you can walk to it on a bike path/trail to get to places, it's walkable. (Most people wouldn't call using a paved path a "hiking trek." Walking on the W&OD or Custis Trail is like walking on a sidewalk.)
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Old 05-29-2012, 08:05 AM
 
Location: Tysons Corner
2,772 posts, read 3,985,159 times
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Again its an issue of verbage. Walkable in this study refers to land use policy, not the physical capability of people to go from point A to point B. Walkable in planning means varying land uses NOT massive swathes of conservation easements with interconnecting trails. The most walkable areas are the ones that dont require you to walk 5 minutes down a wooded path, because the thing you want to get to is next door.

Land use versus resident verbage might be the issue here. Whats the difference? One is much more successful in attracting diverse retail than the other because one has an inherent and passive walker base that is constantly moving outside of store fronts during working hours, while the other remains a destination parcel (ie someone has to make the decision to want to go there as opposed to happening to walk by it en route).

Atlantic Cities always has the best take on it, better at explaining than I can http://www.theatlanticcities.com/job...borhoods/2122/
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Old 05-29-2012, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,129 posts, read 29,125,479 times
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Yes I would consider a truly walkable place to be one where I walk or bike out of my place of residence down the street to my workplace and pass relevant (to me) retail and dining spots along the way. Getting into a car would be a choice, not a daily necessity.
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Old 05-29-2012, 08:41 AM
 
5,117 posts, read 9,344,661 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tysonsengineer View Post
Again its an issue of verbage. Walkable in this study refers to land use policy, not the physical capability of people to go from point A to point B. Walkable in planning means varying land uses NOT massive swathes of conservation easements with interconnecting trails. The most walkable areas are the ones that dont require you to walk 5 minutes down a wooded path, because the thing you want to get to is next door.

Land use versus resident verbage might be the issue here. Whats the difference? One is much more successful in attracting diverse retail than the other because one has an inherent and passive walker base that is constantly moving outside of store fronts during working hours, while the other remains a destination parcel (ie someone has to make the decision to want to go there as opposed to happening to walk by it en route).

Atlantic Cities always has the best take on it, better at explaining than I can Why We Pay More for Walkable Neighborhoods - Jobs & Economy - The Atlantic Cities
I agree with you to a point - land becomes more valuable to developers per square foot if you can house a bunch of people in smaller units in mixed-use buildings. That's pretty clear. There also have been a fair number of studies that make clear that younger buyers/renters would prefer living in such an area to a car-dependent apartment complex or single-family house.

Put that together, and you have the ingredients for opportunities in some areas - such as ours - to revitalize low-income areas through dense, walkable mixed-use communities. Columbia Heights and Petworth in DC are two examples, and it's not an accident that some of the places where this is now taking place in NoVa are somewhat less affluent areas - for example, Merrifield (which used to be largely industrial) and Columbia Pike in South Arlington (an area with many older, run-down apartments).

On the other hand, some urbanists are rather quick to take the next step, and then suggest that such findings demonstrate that dense, mixed-use developments are more desirable for everyone than other types of housing. They simply can't help themselves, because they relish the idea of getting to plan new developments; they hate the suburbs because the homes don't meet their aesthetic standards and people who don't pay a lot of attention to their ideas live there; and (as with the author of the Brookings study) they often have a financial interest in getting redevelopment contracts. A good example, in fact, is the introductory sentence of the Atlantic Cities article you posted:

"Instinct probably tells you that you'll pay a lot more to live in a downtown apartment, above a grocery store, next to a bar strip and within walking distance of your work place than you will to settle into a comparable home in a bedroom community outside of the city."

Really? Maybe for the author of the article. Not for those of us, however, who have kids, don't have the slightest interest in hanging out in bars or hearing bar patrons at midnight, and/or like the idea of putting at least a little bit of distance between ourselves and our employers.

Personally, I'm not really the ideal candidate to be on the front lines of this particular cultural war, because I spend a lot of time in cities and now live in a fairly walkable suburban area. But the "we know/live best" rhetoric from some urbanists is sufficiently noisy these days that it's definitely prompting some harsh responses from unexpected quarters; here's one example:

The American Smart Dream~Part I | Exurbia Chronicles

http://www.exurbiachronicles.com/?p=295

You (and others with an interest in urban planning) would have more success if you explained to people why you could make their lives more convenient and productive, and spent less time railing against people who live in suburbs and have made choices they believed were in the best interests of their families. Telling them they undoubtedly would prefer to live next to a bar strip probably isn't the best place to start.

Last edited by JD984; 05-29-2012 at 08:54 AM..
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Old 05-29-2012, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 29,026,331 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tysonsengineer View Post
Caladium, its not that your points are being ignored, its that 95% of the examples provided are of recreational trails and walk ways.
People use these walkways every day to walk to work and to stores and to restaurants and to churches and to libraries and to community centers. Therefore, the communities are walkable.
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:05 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,129 posts, read 29,125,479 times
Reputation: 6866
Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
I agree with you to a point - land becomes more valuable to developers per square foot if you can house a bunch of people in smaller units in mixed-use buildings. That's pretty clear. There also have been a fair number of studies that make clear that younger buyers/renters would prefer living in such an area to a car-dependent apartment complex or single-family house.
It's not just the young. Many older empty nesters such as myself also find that setup pretty appealing. Think about places most people go on vacation (city, beach town, mountain village, etc). That's often the type of area older people like to move to with increasing frequency. They generally don't look anything like an outer suburb but fit more closely the walkable places described in the Atlantic article.
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