Life as a performance. A story. A swell of creativity.
And, excelling beyond expectations.
Girl Meets Bike: Jacquie Phelan (link to her BLOG, get “Inside the Mind of the Wombat“)
Every hour on the bike, is one hour spent in perfect balance”
- Off-road champion, Jacquie Phelan
The study “Walking the Walk” set out to find the hidden “premium” to buying or renting a house in more walkable communities. In brief, the study suggests a 12% average increase in the more than 90,000 home sales studied when located in more convenient locations with more transportation choices.
That’s information useful to both home buyers and real estate agents.
It needs to also be recognized by regional planners & developers.
The public sector needs to shift its priorities as walkability is often undervalued by planning and engineering departments. A recent report by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute titled “Economic Value of Walkability” suggests why:
- Walkability is difficult to measure
- Less prestige associated with walkability
- Walkability’s low costs = fewer dedicated stakeholders
- Planning models fail to look at livability & associated benefits
- It is widely accepted that walkability will “take care of itself”
However, if communities make walkability the priority, these reports support that it will have a substantially positive impact on:
- personal wealth
- the local tax base
- infrastructure savings (construction & maintenance.)
The nation’s urban leaders should pay close attention to walkability as a key measure of urban vitality and as impetus for public policy that will increase overall property values – a key source of individual wealth and of revenues for cash-strapped governments in a tough economy.
– Economist Joe Cortright, “Walking the Walk“
Traverse City has begun to discuss the issue of walkability and transportation choices. Encouraging. It needs to be supported as the risk remains that staff will use dated approaches that treat active modes of transportation as “extras” and purely “quality of life” issues.
Walkability goes beyond having a nice place to live. This is about broader issues that drive economic growth, diversity & resilience.
A walkable, livable city is typically a strong economic hub with increased property values, increased consumer interactions and a sustainable tax base.
The Grand Vision & recent neighborhood meetings voiced priorities for city residents that repeatedly call for traffic calming, increased transportation choices (walking, biking, bus..) and improving parkland. Traverse City attracts people willing to pay higher prices and taxes for precisely these reasons. Now that increased numbers are wanting to move into the region, the city needs to actively plan for a future that not only maintains the progressed made, but greatly improves each neighborhood’s livability.
Livability/walkability, what ever we call it, can lead to amazing things.
Is walkability being treated as equally important to car traffic in your community?
Should it be prioritized before car traffic?