Say Again ? Hell’s Kitchen scores a 100 as a Walkers’ Paradise

The website WalkScore rates our neighborhood “100 – a walker’s paradise” . This is ignoring the hellish nature of the experience with the Lincoln Tunnel and the lack of pedestrian safety or traffic enforcement. Let’s hope these features will be included in Hell’s Kitchen 2.0.

According to A Walker’s Guide to Home Buying – WSJ.com home buyers aren’t just looking for good schools and low crime rates when they evaluate a neighborhood, many brokers say. They’re paying much more attention to what they can walk to. Real-estate prices are reflecting the new interest in walking distances. A study published in August of 90,000 homes across the country by nonprofit CEOs for Cities, a group of urban-redevelopment advocates, found that having more amenities in walking distance can boost home values. As measured by Walk Score, walking-distance amenities raised values by as much as $3,000 for a one-point increase in rankings. And a report released in January by the Natural Resources Defense Council found a neighborhood’s “location efficiency”—a measure of the transportation costs in a given area—affected the number of foreclosures in the area.
“For a lot of Americans, the whole problem of traffic congestion and having to drive everywhere to do almost anything has made other choices more attractive,” says Kaid Benfield, director of the Washington-based Natural Resources Defense Council’s Smart Growth Program. Urban planners say it’s also a matter of demographics: Baby boomers are coming of empty-nest retirement age, and at the same time their children are buying their first homes, and neither group wants large lots in remote places where little is going on. Fear about future oil prices is also increasing the attractiveness of walkable neighborhoods…
Gary Howe, a photographer and writer in Traverse City, Mich., has been working with his city’s planning department to get, among other things, pedestrian-enhanced crosswalks at a busy intersection—a crossing so dangerous, he says, that many neighbors drive less than a block to a pharmacy just to avoid that street. “When I was looking for a house four years ago, lots of real-estate agents didn’t even mention walkability,” Mr. Howe says. “Now I see it everywhere, which is great.”
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