Cities Are Becoming More Walkable – DC Region Ranks 2nd in New Study

Planners across the country are transforming their car-dependent communities into more walking-friendly environments, a phenomenon that has been embraced here in the DC Region.  Building on the concept of transit-oriented development, creating communities that are more walkable is a trend that is catering to the demands of millennials, many of whom do not, nor want to, own a car.  The rise in popularity of Capital Bikeshare and biking in general in these communities is no surprise.  And lo and behold, this has also led to steady increases in housing and commercial land values, as well as communities that are “hot” in the real estate market.

The Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis (CREUA),
located at George Washington University, recently released a study that Washington is second only to New York City as the most walkable metropolitan area in the United States.  It makes sense frankly if you look at the recent developments like the Wharf, and the continued popularity of the Rosslyn – Ballston corridor.  Reston Town Center is also emerging as a go-to place to live because of its walkability combined with its “urban” atmosphere.  With the anticipated opening of Phase II of  Metro’s Silver line, the Dulles Corridor looks a whole lot like an adolescent Rosslyn – Ballston Corridor.

The CREUA analysis looked at variables that create Walkable Urban Places, or WalkUPs for short.  The attributes of walkable urban development include areas of higher densities and mixed land uses that encompass office, retail and multifamily housing.  The study also weighed the level of innovative types of functionally blended real estate (transit oriented development ranks very high), such as apartment units atop retail stores and the availability of multiple transportation options that include walking, biking and public transit (and surprisingly the ability to drive cars).

The top six metropolitan areas that ranked highest in WalkUPs include:

  • 1. New York
  • 2. Washington, D.C.
  • 3. Boston
  • 4. Chicago
  • 5. San Francisco
  • 6. Seattle

This is a list of very formidable competition – the urban heavyweight division if you will – so Washingtonians should be very proud of their ranking in WalkUPs.  The Dulles Area Transportation Association sees great promise in making the Dulles Corridor a very WalkUP oriented community and is poised to continue its efforts in promoting mobility options and assisting our stakeholders in achieving WalkUP success!