Americans Prefer Walkable Communities

Monday, January 30 by JerryFoster

The National Association of Realtors published the 2011 Community Preference Survey last year – no surprise to us, Americans prefer walkable communities! According to the survey:

“When selecting a community, nearly half of the public (47%) would prefer to live in a city (19%) or a suburban neighborhood with a mix of houses, shops, and businesses (28%). Another four in ten (40%) would prefer a rural area (22%) or a small town (18%). Only one in ten (12%) say they would prefer a suburban neighborhood with houses only.

The public?s attitudes toward traffic solutions have remained consistent over the last seven years. Improving public transportation is viewed as the best answer to traffic congestion by half of the country (50%). Three in ten (30%) prefer building communities where fewer people need to drive long distances to work and shop. Far fewer want to see more roads (18%).

Top Community Characteristics:

  • Privacy from neighbors (87%, important; 45%, very);
  • Being within a 30-minute commute to work (78%; 36%);
  • Sidewalks and places to take walks (77%; 31%); and
  • High quality public schools (75%; 44%).

Americans are particularly interested in being within an easy walk of grocery stores (75%, important), pharmacies (65%), hospitals (61%), restaurants (60%), and cultural resources like libraries or theaters (59%). At least half of the public also considers being able to walk to schools (55%), doctors? offices (55%), and public transportation by bus (50%) important in deciding where to live. Walking to recreational facilities (47%), places of worship (47%), or public transportation by rail (42%) are slightly less important.”

What can we do to make West Windsor more walkable, and therefore more desirable? A grocery store to replace the former Acme would be a huge improvement, as well as the planned sidewalks along Rt 571, as well as the planned rapid flashing beacon will be installed at the crosswalk at Sherbrooke Drive. Slower travel speed and additional pedestrian-friendly crossings will help realize our redevelopment plan’s vision to make Rt 571 “a desirable mix of pedestrian-friendly, village scale development.”

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