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What is Walkability?

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion What is Walkability?

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  • #100560

    News
    Participant

    WHAT IS WALKABILITY?

    Posted on February 2, 2014

    Author(s): John Lavey and Jennifer Hill

    You’ve probably heard this term before. Recent national preference studies have shown that home buyers are willing to make tradeoffs in house size and price to live in homes that are in walkable neighborhoods. Our very own study, Reset: Assessing Future Housing Markets in the Rocky Mountain West, referred to these neighborhoods as “compact, walkable developments.” We address the term briefly in our study, but it deserves a clearer treatment – it deserves the caveat and nuance that will shade its deeper meanings and more properly convey an intended set of ideas.

    We are not the only ones talking about walkability. Nor are we the only ones to ponder the deeper meaning of the term. From fellow bloggers to several academic papers, there is much to draw from when one wishes to put a finer point on this modern term (For more on walkability, we encourage you to read through the resources at the end of this article for more information).

    So, let’s talk walkability.

    READ MORE: http://communitybuilders.net/walkability/

    #558858

    News
    Participant

    Why Urban Demographers are Right About the Trend Toward Downtowns and Walkable Suburbs
    Posted February 27, 2014

    I and others have been tracking for some time a surging interest in walkable neighborhoods, in both reinvested downtowns and more pedestrian-friendly suburban developments. Just last month I cited University of Utah Professor Arthur C. Nelson for the propositions that, contrary to what occurred in previous generations, half of all new housing demand between now and 2040 will be for attached homes, the other half for small-lot homes. The demand for large-lot suburbia, by contrast, is diminishing.

    READ MORE: http://sustainablecitiescollective.com/kaidbenfield/228136/why-urban-demographers-are-right-about-trend-toward-downtowns-and-walkable-subur

    #1059963

    News
    Participant

    Becoming More Pedestrian-Centric
    January 20, 2015

    To become less car-dependent and more appealing to young professionals, municipalities are investing in pedestrian-friendly innovations that help walkers and cyclists gain more control how they navigate the community. These developments are increasing safety and supporting an increasingly multimodal population.

    READ MORE: http://efficientgov.com/blog/2015/01/20/refocusing-pedestrians/

    #1085543

    News
    Participant

    The value of walkability across the US
    By Joe Cortright 16.7.2015

    One of the factors that seems to be propelling the resurgence of cities around the nation is the growing demand for housing in walkable locations. One of the best sources of evidence of the value of walkability is home values, and some new evidence confirms that walkability adds to home values, and also shows that walkable homes have held and increased their value more even in turbulent real estate markets.

    READ MORE: http://cityobservatory.org/the-value-of-walkability-across-the-us/

    #1085563

    Nancy H
    Participant

    Every time I see this post title I keep wanting something a bit more local… Guess I was hoping people would post what they find “walkable” about urban Columbus (German Village, Downtown, Short North, Clintonville, etc). Maybe what would make our city/neighborhood more walkable. Perhaps more importantly – what needs force you to get in a car and drive to the burbs?

    I never understood why retailers don’t do more with their display windows. After hours, most are boring. A missed opportunity to engage potential new customers?

    I want more takeout food options in the Short North. Could be expanded menu options at our local restaurants or a couple of delicatessens or a modern/upscale version of UDF. Sometime you don’t feel like going “out” to eat, but don’t feel like cooking either. Picking a restaurant gets really painful with visiting friends and family and you have preschoolers and/or grandparents in the mix.

    This time of year I miss Urban Gardener. The SN needs something that is maybe a blend of UG, City Folks and Grandview Pro Hardware. I walk to work and to most of my basic needs. But the need for hardware and gardening items always defaults to driving outside the SN.

    #1085978

    Lisa Craig Morton
    Participant

    I would echo some of Nancy H’s comments. As a resident of the Short North, I would love to see some walkable resources for residents and homeowners to compliment the nightlife and tourist destinations. I, too, seriously miss Urban Gardener and would love some type of a garden or hardware or handyman’s shop for lack of a better term. I try to walk everywhere. What would make this neighborhood more walkable to me would be lower speed limits on Neil, King, Fifth, Third and Goodale. The City must address the issue of walkability from Harrison West to Grandview Yard. I would love to see streets more friendly for cyclists and pedestrians. I would love to see more little pockets imbedded within the residential neighborhood – like Katalina, Café Apropos, Harrison’s and the little strip center on Third (although I’d rather have it not look like that and would like parking to be behind or not at all). I would like to see any developments require a return of the street grid – for example, there is talk of Battelle selling all the land by Perry Street between Fifth and Third. Instead of dropping some God-awful apartment complex down in that space, let’s make the developer restore the street grid (complete with allies) all the way over to the bike path. And let’s require a mix of owner-occupied and rental and commercial facing Fifth Avenue. Would love to see trash/recycling cans dotting the main thoroughfares so there is not so much litter.

    #1106084

    News
    Participant

    Pro-Walking, or Anti-Car?
    Sunday, December 6, 2015 – 1:00pm PST by ERLING FOSSEN

    Is it possible to flip the hierarchy of mobility, putting walkers on top and drivers at the bottom, without banning the car? I wonder whether it wouldn’t be better, and more pragmatic, to be pro-pedestrian, rather than anti-car.

    READ MORE: http://www.planetizen.com/node/82571/pro-walking-or-anti-car

    #1106090
    Ned23
    Ned23
    Participant

    For me it’s entirely about time. I consider something (e.g. an amenity) “walkable” if it takes about 10 minutes or less to walk there. If it is in the 11-20 minutes range then I consider it quasi-walkable (i.e. in nice weather or when I specifically want the exercise or have the free time). If it takes more than 20 minutes, then I don’t consider it ‘walkable’ in most cases, because I don’t always have the time; although, I’ve been known to occasionally take pretty long walks to places.

    #1106098

    Alex Silbajoris
    Participant

    I had an apartment off Dierker, near Henderson. It was surprisingly walkable, but it didn’t look like it. By that 10-minute measure, I could get to groceries, bars and restaurants, a post office, hardware store and car repair – sweet because I could drop the car off and easily walk home.

    I had Northcrest Park about 20 feet behind me and it made a great shortcut that you’d never see from a car. By weaving through apartment complexes, I could go to some destinations with almost no exposure to traffic at all.

    #1106102
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    For me it’s entirely about time.

    For me, it’s primarily about the time it takes to get somewhere, but there’s a lot of other factors at play that shouldn’t be discounted.

    For example:

    A 10 minute walk to a cafe on a safe, clean and lively street filled with shops, other pedestrians, street musicians, wide sidewalks in good condition, tree-shade, public art, and slower-moving auto traffic that is comfortably separated from the sidewalks by on-street parking…

    …is a much different experience than a 10 minute walk to a cafe past boarded up buildings, empty trash-covered sidewalks that are narrow and poorly maintained, crumbling and outdated infrastructure, walking right next to a 45-mile an hour street where cars fly past right up against the sidewalk with no buffer.

    But you know… both walks took 10 minutes to get to your destination. ;)

    #1106143

    stein
    Participant

    I don’t necessarily need german village aesthetics to make a neighborhood walkable (though it helps), there are plenty of livable/walkable neighborhoods (in other cities) where trashy, poorly maintained sidewalks are the norm. But there are features like highways, big surface streets, railroads, etc that effectively mark the end of the neighborhood for me.

    Otherwise the 10m/0.5mi/alwayswalk 20m/1mi/willwalkwhennice radius is pretty accurate for me. High street on the south side could use some work in that regard. Its relatively easy to jaywalk across after rush hour, but they don’t make it particularly easy for pedestrians with the lack of lights and crosswalks.

    #1106151

    jackoh
    Participant

    This discussion tells us a lot about America and should, in some respects, shame us. So some say that walkability means a short distance with amenities along the way to make the traverse entertaining or enjoyable. Others say that walkability means a reasonable distance to traverse on foot without being physically overexerted and in the absence of impeding traffic. Try selling this definition of walkability to those refugees from the conflicts in the Middle East who find themselves able to walk thousands of miles in very bad conditions to get to destinations that they seek. Let’s admit that what constitutes “walkability” is a very imprecise and culturally and socially specific definition. It depends entirely on your social and economic position and needs, and no one, no government agency, no development planner, no millennial enthralled with urban density, can dictate the conditions under which it exists. I know what constitutes walkability for me, but I would be more than embarrassed or chagrined to admit that in front of any one of those refugees.

    #1106170
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    I know what constitutes walkability for me, but I would be more than embarrassed or chagrined to admit that in front of any one of those refugees.

    By this logic, no one is allowed to talk about what kind of food they think is best because there are children starving in other parts of the world, and no one can make a recommendation on which apartment complex they think is best because some people live in horrible conditions in third world countries.

    Not that those issues aren’t important, but it quickly turns every opinion on every topic invalid if someone can play the “other people have it worse off than you, therefore this conversation is invalid” card.

    #1106206

    Alex Silbajoris
    Participant

    My parents told me of growing up in Lithuania in the 1920s, you walked to the store, bakery, etc. every day.

    BTW the name for the month of December is Gruodis – that’s frozen mud, or a frozen road. Once the cold weather set in, whatever wheel ruts were in the mud were there until the thaw.

    #1106212

    stein
    Participant

    By this logic

    It isn’t actually a logical argument, it is a non sequitur. The conversation was about what makes a neighborhood walkable. Does anyone really think that any of the refugees around the world consider hundreds of miles to be an appropriate distance to be forced to walk to get to safety, let alone neighborhood amenities? Of course not, that is why their situation is so dire and in need of intervention (not military, but humanitarian) collectively by the stable nations of the world.

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