Bethesda Magazine published a terrific story about how design and geography affect walkability. The article is titled, “Lessons Learned from Wisconsin Avenue, A tour of downtown Bethesda’s main street is eye-opening.”
There are lessons for the Pike District, too, as we share many pluses (transit, retail, new development) and minuses (traffic, Route 355, design that favors cars) with Bethesda.
Two particularly interesting quotes from the article offer insight and education to those working to create a walkable, vibrant White Flint area:
“Retail customers, it turns out, favor streets with some traffic, but not too much. “Research about successful retail in urban environments says that the perfect number of average daily car trips on a street is somewhere between 6,000 and 16,000,” Arnold says. “You have to have at least 6,000 to attract enough customers for businesses to be viable,” she says. “When you start to get over 16,000, then you become more vehicle-oriented.”
“To reach the (Chevy Chase Trust building) garden from the sidewalk, you must walk up a few stairs. Changing levels seems like a barrier and it doesn’t feel right to cross it unless we have legitimate business in the building. “This is almost like the front porch for this office building,” Arnold says. “While you might walk past and admire it, you wouldn’t necessarily go up on it unless you were invited.”
I hope you’ll take five minutes to read this interesting and useful story in Bethesda Magazine.