You won’t want to miss this important event

We are beyond thrilled that County Executive Ike Leggett  and Council President Roger Berliner will be joining MCDOT Director Al Roshdieh to cut the ribbon on the wonderful new striped crosswalks popping up all over the Pike District.

The ribbon cutting will take place at our third Walkable Wednesday, September 27 at 6pm at the intersection of  Nicholson Lane and Executive Boulevard . These new crosswalks — and other pedestrian improvements we should be seeing soon — are a direct result of our advocacy through the Pike District Pedestrian Safety Campaign.

Please join Ike Leggett, Roger Berliner, and Al Roshdieh tomorrow at 6 pm.

Seniors want walkability, too, survey says

From Curbed:

We assume millennials prefer walkability and urban living for all the right reasons: social cohesion and community, better access to entertainment, services, and jobs. So why do we assume that older Americans and senior citizens, who also value connectivity, community, and healthy living, wouldn’t prefer the same living arrangement?

According to a new study by A Place for Mom, a nationwide referral service, the Senior Living Preferences Survey, older Americans value walkable urban centers. The survey asked 1,000 respondents nationwide about their living preferences, and a majority said it was very important or somewhat important to live in a walkable neighborhood, as well as one with low crime that was close to family.

“It’s time to abandon the idea that only millennials and Generation X care about walkability and the services available in dense urban neighborhoods,” says Charlie Severn, head of marketing at A Place for Mom. “These results show a growing set of senior housing consumers also find these neighborhoods desirable. It’s a trend that should be top of mind among developers.”

A nationwide survey of seniors found a preference for walkability 
A Place for Mom


The new survey’s findings mirror what many in the industry have already discovered, and reinforce why a number of designers, planners, and architects have called for a larger reconsideration of how to design for our growing older adult population, and a focus on creating multi-generational communities in suburban centers to meet these growing needs. While financial considerations are still paramount, walkability ranked high regardless of income level, especially for those under 70 seeking senior apartments.

According to Bill Pettit, President of R.D. Merrill Co., parent company of Merrill Gardens, which develops senior living centers in the Southeast and West Coast, many developers, and society at large, assumed that seniors preferred a more rural or suburban location, due in large part to the fact that developers, looking to create larger campuses, sought out 3-5 acre plots of affordable land far from urban centers. Seniors don’t prefer campus living outside of town centers and urban centers, he says. That was a impression built on how the industry got started.

“We were creating these islands of old age,” he says, “where you’re surrounded by your peers and you lose that intergenerational connectivity. We found we were spending a disproportionate period of time busing our seniors to other places to generate that intergenerational connectivity.”

The courtyard of a Merrill Gardens development near the University of Washington in Seattle.  Merrill Gardens


Pettit says the company has changed its siting strategy recently, developing in urban areas with high walkability scores. He sees seniors electing to live in places where they feel connected. The survey, he says, just confirms that the company’s site selection policy is correct.

“When you can walk to shopping, or cross the street to a park, and that park is filled with children and families, I think it gives you a kind of lift that sitting and playing bingo during the day doesn’t give you,” he says.

He believes that seniors, who will be living longer and healthier lives, will begin to prefer campuses and living arrangements more connected to urban centers, especially as Baby Boomers age. He’s already seeing the shift in those his company serves: today, 75-80 percent of seniors at Merrill Gardens are independent, versus 55-65 percent before the Great Recession.

“The population is also physically aging more slowly, so many older adults will be able to stay more active later in life than past generations,” says A Place for Mom’s data scientist Ben Hanowell. “Across the spectrum of care needs, older adults will have a major impact on housing development over the next two decades. As a society, we need to start paying more attention to their behavior and preferences.”

A senior population boom is poised to reshape not just the way Americans think of old age, but how developers respond and build for this changing community. According to the latest report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, Projections and Implications for Housing a Growing Population: Older Households 2015-2035, the number of Americans over 80 will double, from 6 million to 12 million, in the next two decades. By 2035, one out of three U.S. households will be headed by someone over 65. That’s 79 million Americans, or slightly less than the population of Turkey.

Our Greater Greater Washington Post from Friday in support of July 12 Walkable Wendesday

To make White Flint better for business, make the streets safer

By Amy Ginsburg (Guest Contributor)Pete Tomao (Contributor) July 7, 2017 14

A missing crosswalk on Old Georgetown Road. Photo by Dan Reed. Image licensed under Creative Commons.

In 2010, Montgomery County passed the White Flint Master Plan with hopes to turn the area into a transit-oriented destination. Today, it’s one of the busiest places for walking in the county, but the walkable urban streets have yet to materialize.

Since the passage of the White Flint Master Plan, thousands of new residents have moved into the area, but pedestrian infrastructure has not kept up with demand. Many crosswalks remain poorly marked and long stretches of road lack mid-block crossings. Busy intersections like Grand Park Avenue and Old Georgetown Road are missing crosswalks, and Rockville Pike remains difficult to cross.

White Flint has the most amount of walkers in Montgomery County outside of Downtown Bethesda or Silver Spring. The intersection of Marinelli Road and Rockville Pike, outside the White Flint Metro station, is the 6th most used pedestrian crossing in the entire county. However, the area is lagging far behind where it should be.

Well designed streets are safer streets

Last September, the Friends of White Flint and Coalition for Smarter Growth launched the Pike District Pedestrian Safety Campaign to increase awareness of pedestrian safety along Rockville Pike. In addition to a petition calling on state and local lawmakers to address pedestrian issues, the safety campaign included the placement of dozens of signs in the area calling attention to missing links in pedestrian networks and suggesting improvements.

A missing crosswalk on Nicholson Lane at Rockville Pike. Photo by the author. Image by the author.

Working with the community, the campaign will identify inexpensive, easy to implement solutions for a better built environment. One example of success is the recent installation of automatic walk signals next to the White Flint Metro station. The hope is to expand on this and bring further enhancements to the Pike District. Here are a few key reasons why walkability is important to the Pike District.

Here in Montgomery County, fifteen pedestrians and cyclists were killed in 2015, and just this year alone we have seen eight deaths. Regionally, most deaths occur on roads where speed limits are 35 miles per hour or more. Some local roads, like Veirs Mill, are notoriously dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists.

The good news is we can do something about this. Narrowing travel lanes, installing safety zones in medians, and lowering speed limits can drastically increase pedestrian safety and save lives. Reducing speed limits to 30 miles per hour dramatically decreases the chance a pedestrian will die if struck by a car. Instituting pedestrian activated beacons, or HAWK signals, can reduce pedestrian crashes by 69%. The Federal Highway Administration has even issued guidelines acknowledging that pedestrian safety depends on better designed streets.

Instituting better designed roads isn’t a niche issue. It can literally save lives. Maryland is the 15th most dangerous state to be a pedestrian, and we can do better.

Walkable neighborhoods are where people want to be

Walkability isn’t just a safety issue, it’s key to economic competitiveness. Just ask banking company Merrill Lynch. In 2014 they decided to relocate their local office to Pike & Rose, the mixed-use development rising at Rockville Pike and Old Georgetown Road. Even though it increased their rent, the move was worth it because of the walkable environment that Pike & Rose offered. More broadly, Montgomery County is encouraging older, drivable office locations to become more walkable, in line with studies that show the most successful office clusters are in walkable, mixed-use developments.

Young adults in Montgomery County cluster near transit and walkable areas. Map by Dan Reed. Image by Dan Reed licensed under Creative Commons.

People of all ages want to live where they can walk to stores, friends, restaurants, and work. A 2015 National Association of Realtors study found that Millennials prefer walking as a mode of transportation over driving by 12%. Twenty-five percent of adults living in single family homes said they would rather live in a more walkable environment. In Montgomery, the largest clusters of young adults live in walkable, transit-accessible locations like Silver Spring and Bethesda, and Baby Boomers find walkability to be a factor when deciding where to live.

A major focus of the White Flint Master Plan was to create an “urban lite” neighborhood to draw new residents into Montgomery; better pedestrian conditions are essential if we are to fulfill this vision. Adding crosswalks, improving crosswalk visibility, installing better lighting, and other safety improvements will enhance White Flint’s appeal.

The Pike District Pedestrian Safety Campaign is working to make this vision of a walkable White Flint a reality today through tangible, short-term improvements such as the automatic walk signals recently installed at the intersection of Marinelli Road and Rockville Pike. That said, there is so much more we can do easily and inexpensively to enhance pedestrian safety.

If you are interested in helping us achieve this vision, please come out to Walkable Wednesdays hosted by the Coalition for Smarter Growth and Friends of White Flint. During these special walking tours, we’ll discuss improvements that can be made now to improve walkability, and how you can help make them a reality. The next Walkable Wednesdays will be July 12 at noon.

Tagged: crosswalkspedestriansrockville pikewalkabilitywhite flint

Amy Ginsburg, who has lived within two miles of White Flint for most of her life, is the executive director of Friends of White Flint. She has three decades of advocacy, nonprofit management, marketing, and fundraising experience and is passionate about creating a walkable, bikeable, transit-friendly, sustainable Pike District.

Pete Tomao is the Montgomery County Advocacy Manager for the Coalition for Smarter Growth.  A former campaign staffer and union organizer, Pete is passionate about creating better transit options for the Washington, DC region. He graduated from American University with a degree in Political Science.

Lessons from Bethesda and Wisconsin Avenue

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.



Exciting Pedestrian Safety Campaign Launched!

Last night, volunteers from Coalition for Smarter Growth and Friends of White Flint (along with your intrepid FoWF executive director) launched the exciting Pike District Pedestrian Safety Campaign by hanging dozens of signs with safety tips and ways to get involved all around the Pike District.

Walkable may be one of the most over-used adjectives in the new urbanism realm, but that does not diminish its significance.   Making it possible, even pleasurable, for people to walk to the office or farmers market or happy hour is the essential essence of a successful smart growth community like the White Flint/Pike District area.. Named a Bicycle Pedestrian Priority Area in 2012, the Pike District is currently caught between its past as a car-oriented community and its future as a walkable community, yet significantly more people are now traversing streets that just a couple of years ago rarely saw a pedestrian.

Fortunately, many of the measures needed to make the Pike District more walkable are relatively easy and inexpensive to implement. Montgomery County and the State of Maryland can create a more walkable Pike District for surprisingly little money and difficulty. Here’s how.

Improve pedestrian lighting. Right now, street lights are just that, lights for the street. We need lights for the sidewalk so pedestrians strolling at night can see where they’re going and cars can see them.

Make crosswalks more visible. Drivers on Rockville Pike and on many of the major streets in the White Flint area aren’t used to pedestrians walking alongside them since for decades, a pedestrian in that area was almost as rare as a great $5 Bordeaux.  For the cost of a bucket of paint, unique crosswalks would draw attention to the fact that people now walk in the Pike District.

While we’re on the subject of crosswalks, they need to be at every intersection, and cross all the roads of each intersection. There are far too many intersections that have crosswalks on only a portion of their roads.

Make pedestrian signals automatic. Recently, the Coalition for Smarter Growth and Friends of White Flint worked with SHA and MCDOT to change the pedestrian walk signals at Marinelli Road and Rockville Pike to automatic. While careful calculations are necessary to ensure traffic needs are met, it costs nothing to flip the switch to make pedestrian signals automatic like they are in nearly every urban area.

Improve sight lines by trimming trees and other vegetation so that drivers can actually see walkers.

Improve signage so that drivers are more aware that pedestrians will be crossing the street. Wayfinding signs could also be invaluable in directing people to cross where it’s safest.

Create pedestrian refuges in the median so that people crossing complex intersections with complicated traffic patterns have a back up option if they can’t make it across all the lanes of traffic.

Install mid-block crossings at some of the super blocks. A crosswalk at Executive Boulevard and Rockville Pike by North Bethesda Market is just one place where a mid-block crosswalk is needed.

Eliminate hot rights. Also called slip lanes, hot rights allow cars to make right turns at any time, as long as they yield to traffic. Unfortunately, they are a dangerous nightmare for pedestrians trying to navigate through an intersection.

A walkable Pike District has been the goal since the approval of the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan. With the notable increase of walkers in the White Flint area and all the new development being built, now is the time to make the goal a reality.

To learn more or get involved in the Pike District Pedestrian Safety Campaign, visit The Pike District Pedestrian Safety Campaign is a joint project of Friends of White Flint and the Coalition for Smarter Growth.

If there was a magic pill that made you happier, healthier, more connected, richer and safer, would you take it?

Well, that magic pill does exist. It’s called “walkable streets.” (I’m certainly glad that we’re enhancing walkability in the White Flint area because I definitely would love to be healthier, happier, richer, more connected to people, and safer.)

Here’s a list of 50 positive effects from creating walkable communities from an article in Fast Company.

1. It helps people live longer
Inactivity is the fourth leading cause of mortality around the world; physical activity dropped 32% in the last four decades in the U.S., and 45% in less than two decades in China. For people over 60, walking just 15 minutes a day can reduce the risk of dying by 22%.

2. It helps people lose weight
A 30-minute walk can burn 100 calories; for every 12 blocks or so walked a day, your risk of obesity drops 4.8%.

3. It reduces the risk of chronic disease
Regular walking may reduce the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and colon cancer. Inactivity is a primary cause of most chronic diseases.

4. It makes people happier
Someone with a one-hour commute in a car needs to earn 40% more to be as happy as someone with a short walk to work. On the other hand, researchers found that if someone shifts from a long commute to a walk, their happiness increases as much as if they’d fallen in love. People who walk 8.6 minutes a day are 33% more likely to report better mental health.

People who walk 8.6 minutes a day are 33% more likely to report better mental health.

5. It improves traffic safety
More than 270,000 pedestrians are killed around the world every year; better street design, and policies that reduce speed, can obviously help reduce the risk of crashes. Just shortening a long crosswalk can reduce the risk of pedestrian deaths 6%.

6. It brings back “eyes on the street”
While some countries invest in security cameras for streets—like the U.K., with 5.9 million cameras in public spaces—encouraging more people to walk is a cheaper way of increasing surveillance and making streets feel safer.

7. It reduces crime in other ways
Making streets more pleasant for walking—reducing trash, for example, or enforcing the speed limit—also has the added benefit of reducing crime. In one Kansas City neighborhood, crime dropped 74% after some streets went car-free on weekends.

8. It makes neighborhoods more vibrant
The same features that make streets more walkable, like a safer and more attractive design, make people want to spend more time in them generally, bringing vibrancy back to neighborhoods.

9. It enhances the “sense of place”
Spending time walking through a neighborhood, rather than driving, helps people have a better sense of what makes it unique—and more likely to want to help take care of it.

10. It’s a driver for creativity
If a neighborhood is walkable, it’s more likely to become home to public street art and open-air events; conversely, public art and cultural events can help draw people to streets where they might not have walked before.

In one Kansas City neighborhood, crime dropped 74% after some streets went car-free on weekends.

11. It’s universally accessible
While not everyone can afford a car or knows how to drive, walking is universally accessible, and even those who take the subway or drive also walk at some points during the day. The report makes the point that designing pedestrian infrastructure for those who are less mobile also helps make the experience of walking better for everyone.

12. It fosters social interaction
Walkable streets bring people together who might not otherwise meet. In a classic 1960s study, people who lived on streets with more car traffic were less likely to know their neighbors.

13. It strengthens community identity
As people interact more on streets, that also builds a sense of community. In Ireland, one study found that people in walkable neighborhoods had 80% more “social capital” than those living in car-dependent areas.

14. It connects people across generations
In the U.S., millennials prefer walking to driving by a 12% margin. In some areas, the elderly are also more likely to walk or take public transit. Making streets more walkable helps bring people of all ages—including children—together.

15. It builds inclusiveness
Traffic infrastructure, such as highways, can physically separate and segregate neighborhoods; better design for walkability makes the whole city more accessible to everyone. For the lowest-income people, who might lose a job if their car breaks down, it can help build a social safety net.

16. It boosts the economy
Making neighborhoods more walkable increases the number of people who shop there. Pedestrians may spend as much as 65% more than drivers. It also boosts employment; in Dublin, a redesigned pedestrian-friendly neighborhood led to a 300% increase in employment. Overall, biking and walking provide an estimated return on investment of $11.80 for every $1 invested.

17. It helps local businesses
In Brooklyn, redesigning a parking lot into a pedestrian plaza boosted retail sales 172%. People who visit street markets in a city are also more likely to shop at stores nearby. The less that people drive, the more money they also have available to spend locally; an economist estimates that because people in Portland, Oregon, drive 20% less than the rest of the country, they save more than $1 billion, and much of that goes back to local businesses.

18. It helps make people more creative and productive
Research suggests that walking boosts creative output an average of 60%. You’re also more likely to be productive, improve memory, and make better decisions after exercise. Walking during work also helps: One internal study at a company found that people felt more energetic, focused, and engaged after walking meetings.

19. It improves a city’s brand and identity
Making a city more walkable and liveable can also give it a stronger identity, and make people want to visit. Barcelona, which has worked on improving public spaces and walkability since the 1980s, has seen its number of annual visitors grow 335% over the last two decades.

20. It increases tourism
For tourists, walking is one of the best ways to experience a city, and improving walkability makes more people interested in visiting. In London, Trafalgar Square saw a 300% increase in visitors after pedestrianizing.

21. It encourages more investment
After cities invest in walkable public space, it can encourage more investment in the same area. The High Line in New York led to $2 billion in private investment in the neighborhood around the park.

22. It attracts the creative class
Skilled professionals tend to migrate to walkable areas; the most walkable neighborhoods have much higher GDPs per capita, and more college graduates.

Pedestrianizing a street can make home values go up $82 a square foot.

23. It increases land and property values
When neighborhoods become safer, more accessible, and more liveable, property values rise. Pedestrianizing a street can make home values go up $82 a square foot. It’s also good for landlords, if not tenants: Rents can rise $300 per month.

24. It activates the street facade
Walkable neighborhoods are less likely to have a lot of vacant storefronts. In New York City, expanding the pedestrian space in Union Square reduced commercial vacancies 49%.

25. It shrinks the cost of traffic congestion
The more people walk and the fewer people are stuck in traffic on roads, the more that benefits the economy. In the Bay Area, for example, businesses lose $2 billion a year because employees are stuck in gridlock.

26. It saves money on construction and maintenance
While building and maintaining roads is expensive—the U.S. needs an estimated $3.6 trillion by 2020 to repair existing infrastructure—sidewalks are more affordable. Investing in sidewalks also brings health and air quality benefits worth twice as much as the cost of construction.

27. It reduces health care costs
Inactivity leads to huge health care costs. The U.S. spends $190 billion on obesity-related illnesses alone.

28. It decreases dependency on nonrenewable resources
Experts estimate that the world may only have 56 years worth of oil left; cars waste most of the gas they use. Walking, by contrast, can actually generate energy if cities install energy-harvesting sidewalk tiles.

29. It minimizes land use
Sidewalks and bike paths are more compact than roads; they also enable people to easily live in denser neighborhoods, unlike traditional car-dependent suburbs.

30. It reduces air pollution
On a single car-free day in 2015, Paris cut smog by 40% in parts of the city. Over the long term, pedestrianization can improve health as the air grows cleaner, and can help cut a city’s carbon footprint.

31. It cuts ambient noise
With fewer people driving, cities get quieter. On Paris’s first car-free day, sound levels on main roads dropped three decibels. Plants and trees—which make streets more walkable—also reduce ambient noise.

32. It helps improve urban microclimates
While paved roads contribute to the urban heat island effect, making cities hotter, shaded, plant-lined sidewalks can help cool neighborhoods down from 9 to 35 degrees.

Plant-lined sidewalks can help cool neighborhoods down from 9 to 35 degrees.

33. It can improve water management
Sidewalks designed with permeable surfaces can help suck up water during heavy rain, reducing flooding.

34. It makes cities more beautiful
Roads and sidewalks typically make up the majority of public space in cities; in Chicago, for example, they make up 70%. Making public space more walkable—with landscaping, public art, and other interventions—also makes it more attractive than a typical road.

35. It increases active use of space
In walkable neighborhoods, people are also more likely to make use of parks and public squares, and other outdoor spaces. In Copenhagen, as the city became more pedestrian-friendly over the last few decades, the number of people sitting in squares and otherwise making use of city space tripled.

36. It makes better use of space
Streets that are redesigned to become more walkable also tend to incorporate underutilized space next to roads. In New York, one study found 700 miles of underused public space under elevated structures.

37. It encourages people to drive less
When Copenhagen pedestrianized its main street, foot traffic increased 35% in the first year. In many cities, a large number of trips are only a short distance, and better design makes it more likely that people will prefer to walk or bike.

38. It also promotes public transit
People using a subway or bus to commute to work have to get there from their home—and a better walk makes it more likely that they’ll want to use public transit instead of driving.

39. It increases permeability
Walkability can also make cities more “permeable,” or easier to move around, creating a walking network that may even be easier to use than driving.

40. It bridges barriers
Pedestrian infrastructure can reconnect parts of the city that may have been disconnected by older infrastructure. In Rotterdam, a crowdfunded pedestrian bridge stretches over a busy road and old train tracks.

41. It makes cities more competitive
Walkability is directly connected to liveability. When Melbourne redesigned its center for pedestrians, it saw an 830% increase in residents, and it was recognized as The Economist’s “world’s most liveable city” five years in a row.

42. It builds political support
After the mayor of the Spanish city of Pontevedra decided to go car-free in 1999, the public loved him: He’s now in his fifth term.

Every added 10 minutes of commuting cuts community involvement 10%.

43. It builds engagement
As people spend more time outside in their neighborhoods, they’re more likely to feel attached, and to engage in improving the city in general. Crowdfunded public projects are growing in many cities.

44. It encourages more stakeholders to participate
Every added 10 minutes of commuting cuts community involvement 10%. In L.A., where commuters waste 64 hours a year in traffic, the city is building more participation by helping neighbors transform underused roads into pedestrian spaces.

45. It inspires civic responsibility
Walkability brings people together with other community members, which increases a sense of responsibility. Mexico City’s self-appointed pedestrian “superhero,” who defends pedestrians on city streets, helped build political support for the city’s new commitment to zero traffic deaths.

46. It promotes sustainable behaviors
In Canada, a study found that if people drove one less day a week, it could reduce 3.8 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year. As cities become more walkable, it can enable a cultural shift away from driving. Though the report doesn’t mention it, taking one sustainable action can also lead people to take others.

If people drove one less day a week, it could reduce 3.8 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year.

47. It helps make cities more resilient
If people can easily walk, a breakdown in mass transit, or a gas shortage, is less of a problem. Walkability makes cities more resilient in disasters.

48. It’s a tool for urban regeneration
Making neighborhoods more walkable can spark urban regeneration. In Madrid, a walkable park along the river led to investment in new sports areas, plazas, cafes, and the renovation of historic landmarks.

49. It allows for flexible micro-solutions
A car-free or walkable street is more likely to support pop-up interventions and other cheap, simple, DIY solutions.

50. It supports cultural heritage
Pedestrianization around a cultural landmark can increase the number of people who visit, and help support efforts for preservation. As Beijing quickly modernized, the city decided to pedestrianize several ancient, narrow streets—bringing new visitors and saving part of the city that otherwise might have disappeared.


Download the full report here.


Half of millennials and baby boomers prefer walkable communities, and they are willing to pay a premium to live in a pedestrian-friendly community.

Redfin reported that the price of a home rose with every additional point on a scale of pedestrian friendliness. Nationally, one Walk Score point can increase the price of a home by just about one percent. In Washington DC that translates into an increase in price of $4,386 or 1.22 percent for every point of walkability. In Washington DC, changing a Walk Score of 60 to a Walk Score of 80 generates a $133,000 premium for the average house.

The Redfin study noted that “fewer than 2 percent of  active listings are considered a walker’s paradise (Walk Score of 90 and above). Yet 56 percent of millennials and 46 percent of boomers prefer walkable communities with a range of housing amidst local businesses and public services. And like everything rare and desirable, walkability comes at a premium; homes highly “walkable” to amenities, everything else being equal, are more expensive than comparable homes in less “walkable” areas.”

Let’s fulfill the promise of pedestrian-friendly Pike District!

It’s the end the era of sprawl — walkable is now the goal across the country

According to Foot Traffic Ahead, a recent report from the George Washington University School of Business,  “for perhaps the first time in 60 years, walkable urban places (WalkUPs) in all 30 of the largest metros are gaining market share over their drivable suburban competition—and showing substantially higher rental premiums.”  The study also concluded there exists a 49 percent GDP per capita “premium” in the most highly walkable urban metros over the least walkable urban metros. The report references another study which showed that walkability acts as a magnet for college-educated people.

As we’ve seen in the transformation of the Pike District, the  U.S. is undergoing a significant shift in growth patterns, fundamentally changing from a drive-able to a a walkable society.  While the report doesn’t mention White Flint, it does mention Tysons Corner as an example of  “Redeveloped Drivable Sub-urban: Places originally developed as strip commercial and/or regional malls that have since urbanized.”

The report notes that metro second ranked Washington, DC’s WalkUP square footage is more balanced between its central city (53 percent) and suburbs (47 percent) than first ranked New York City.

Walkable urban development, as defined in the report,  includes: • Substantially higher densities (1.0 to 40 FAR, though mostly in the 1.0 to 4.0 range) • Mixed-use real-estate products, or the adjacent spatial mix of products • Emerging “new” product types, such as rental apartments over a ground-floor grocery store • Multiple transportation options, such as bus, rail, bicycle, and pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, as well as motor vehicles, that connect to the greater metro area. Within the boundaries of the WalkUP itself, most destinations are within walking distance.

How wonderful that the Pike District/White Flint area is on the leading edge of a significant societal shift.