Walkable communities getting even more walkable

Walkable photoAlamitos Beach Neighborhood, Long Beach (Photo: Darkest Tree)

One appeal of urban neighborhoods is their convenience. Now, that might sound counter-intuitive, considering the small lots and the need to fight for on-street parking spaces. But the convenience lies in the surroundings. Buyers — especially younger buyers — love the idea of being able to walk down the street to a restaurant or market, or even walk to work.

This trend has been helpful in transforming many a formerly blighted neighborhood into the area’s hot community, sending real estate values soaring.

Online real estate marketplace Redfin has released its latest ranking of most-walkable cities, and it’s no surprise that New York is number one, with a “walkable score” of 88.9. What may be a surprise is that Long Beach, Calif., is considered a highly walkable city, cracking the top 10 for the first time with the largest yearly increase of all top 10 cities.

“Recognizing Long Beach as the most walkable city in Southern California, and one of the most walkable in the entire country, is a testament to the hard work weíve been doing to improve and expand pedestrian infrastructure and support safe and convenient travel for everyone,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. “We intend to continue making Long Beach a great place to walk and to live, work and visit.”

Municipal governments have a huge incentive to improve the walkability of their neighborhoods. Right off the bat it raises residential property values, increasing tax revenue.

Secondarily, with more affluent residents, businesses catering to that clientËle more in, adding to the tax revenue.

Walkable’s growing importance

Redfin reports all cities in the top 10 saw increases in their walkability scores in the last 12 months, demonstrating the growing importance of that quality. But the improvement doesn’t come cheap.

“Improving a city’s walk score takes work. In these communities, construction crews have built an invitation for walking,” said Eric Scharnhorst, livability analyst at Redfin. “Safer sidewalks are now connected to a greater variety of everyday amenities. This creates opportunities for both local businesses and families.”

Here’s Redfin’s top 10 cities for walkability:

1. New York
2. San Francisco
3. Boston
4. Philadelphia
5. Miami
6. Chicago
7. Washington, DC
8. Seattle
9. Oakland
10. Long Beach

 

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