Tag: washington d.c.

“Walkable Living Stories” profiles those living “Car-Lite” in the greater Washington area

NehaWalkableLifestyle

Smart Growth America Coalition Member Coalition for Smarter Growth, which works to make the case for smart growth in and around the nation’s capital, recently launched a new feature series “Walkable Living Stories”. The series will profile Washington, DC residents who use a car never or infrequently – a portion of the population that continues to grow.

The trend of opting for a transit-oriented, walkable lifestyle is particularly encouraging when one considers that some District of Columbia policies still favor a car-centric lifestyle. These policies include mandatory parking requirements for new buildings in areas with public transportation options.

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Diverse development helps neighborhoods in greater DC and beyond


Washington, DC’s Yards Park in the Capital Riverfront neighborhood. Photo via Flickr.

Office renters, apartment seekers and shoppers are all vital parts of creating a great, economically resilient neighborhood. What development strategies attract these people? As Christopher B. Leinberger’s new research explains, walkable streets and transit choices are increasingly important in Washington DC and across the country.

Leinberger, President of LOCUS and Research Professor at The George Washington University School of Business, sat down with the Washington Post recently to discuss his most recent research, “The WalkUP Wake-Up Call,” and the future of development in the Washington DC region.

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Smart Growth Stories: City Councilmember Tommy Wells on creating great neighborhoods in Washington DC

Washington, DC’s neighborhoods have seen a huge resurgence in recent years, and nowhere in the city is this more visible than DC’s Ward 6.

Stretching from just north of Union Station south across Capitol Hill and down to the Anacostia River, Ward 6 has seen incredible neighborhood growth over the past decade. Neighborhoods like H Street Northeast – with indie music venues, hipster bars and avant garde restaurants – on the north side of Capitol Hill, and Barracks Row – with art galleries and fine dining – on the south side have been steadily gathering new residents and new businesses. Both are in Ward 6.

DC City Councilmember Tommy Wells represents Ward 6, and he has made neighborhoods the focus of his work.

“Great neighborhoods are not necessarily what we thought they were,” Wells says. “We used to think we divided ourselves in sections…you put schools over here, housing over here, stores over here. And what we found was that in order to get anywhere and to do anything, you had to get in your car…And the more that we lived in our cars and in this sort of a sectional, stove-piped community, the more we didn’t see each other.”

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Video: the phenomenal success of Capital Bikeshare

Washington DC’s Capital Bikeshare has soared in popularity since it started in 2008. The easy-to-use service has gathered 14,000 annual users and over 40,000 day users during that time. The video above from Streetfilms and the National Association of City Transportation Officials discusses how DC-area residents and visitors alike have taken to the service.

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Complete streets principles in action

Crossing a major arterial can be difficult, if not downright unsafe. That’s why we are so happy to see the completion of some smart pedestrian safety improvements just outside SGA headquarters in Washington D.C. The improvements include a pedestrian-friendly island halfway between the six-lane street, along with a median with beautiful flowers.

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“An increasing movement toward more walkable cities”

CNBC released its list today of the top 10 most walkable cities in America, and includes in it a discussion of the growing trend among towns and cities to create neighborhoods with pedestrian-friendly streets and bustling downtown shopping districts. These features are a key part of smart growth development strategies and, as CNBC writer Cindy Perman explains, walkable neighborhoods have benefits beyond street-level charm. Walkable neighborhoods feel safer and more social, and help build exercise into daily routines. But even more importantly, walkable neighborhoods bring economic benefits:

You wouldn’t spend much time hanging around in the parking lot of a strip mall in a car-dependent suburb. But, you would linger in a very walkable city, which means you’re more inclined to spend more. Quite a bit more, in fact. The Urban Land Institute studied two Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, one walkable and one not. They found that the Barnes & Noble book store in the walkable suburb made 20 percent more in profits than the one in the driving-dependent suburb.

“We call that a place-making dividend,” McMahon said. “People stay longer and come back more often and spend more money in places that attract their affection.”

There’s an economic benefit for homeowners, too: Homes in walkable cities hold their value better than those that were heavily reliant on driving, according to Smart Growth America, a group that promotes “smart growth” instead of suburban sprawl.


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