Sunday, April 18, 2010

Home is where the sidewalks are

Reading through this post from Streetsblog got me thinking about how transportation choices and walkability affect our decisions about where to live. The post asks readers to respond to the question, "How walkability a top priority for you [in deciding where to live]?" Not surprisingly (these are Streetsblog readers after all), the walkability and bikeability of a neighborhood seem to be pretty important. This seems in line with at least one recent study that shows homes in walkable neighborhoods sell for more than those in more traditional suburbs.

On the other hand, I think it's important to keep in mind the response of one reader, who explained: "most important for me, can I get a job there?" I admit, this is the case for me as well. In a perfect world walkability would be the top factor in my choice of where to live...but in that perfect world I would also have the money to afford chic California real estate, not to mention a lively trust fund.

Here in Reality, things aren't quite so simple. I have to take into account not only the location of my workplace, but also my husband's workplace. Factor in kids, schools, not wanting our kids to have to forgo school because our mortgage is so expensive that once we've paid it we can't afford to also clothe our gets complicated quickly, and walkability slips further and further down the list. All of which only serves to emphasize why it's so important to push for walkability everywhere. It should be a given that neighorhoods have good sidewalks and marked crosswalks, the same way that it's a given that neighborhoods have roads.

I'm looking forward to the day when asking a person if they prioritize walkability in deciding where to live sounds as crazy as asking if they prioritize the availability of drinking water. Until then, I guess I'm not moving.

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