Brookings Expert Makes Case for Walkable Communities, and Transportation Referendum

Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Chris Leinberger penned two op eds this weekend about the ever-increasing importance of walkable communities. In Sunday’s New York Times piece he explains new research that shows “the most valuable real estate lies in walkable urban locations. Many of these now pricey places were slums just 30 years ago.”

“Our research shows that real estate values increase as neighborhoods became more walkable, where everyday needs, including working, can be met by walking, transit or biking.”

He also explains that  walkability is not exclusive to cities, but is also happening in more suburban locales:

“Demand for walkable urban space extends beyond city centers to suburbs; in metropolitan Washington, more than half of the walkable places are in the suburbs, like Reston Town Center, 22 miles from downtown Washington; Ballston, in Arlington County; and Silver Spring, in suburban Maryland. Residents can easily get to grocery stores, cafes, libraries and work by rail transit, biking and walking.”

The op ed and report are both worth reading.

In Monday’s AJC, Leinberger calls the upcoming Transportation Referendum Atlanta’s “New Olympic Moment.” His conclusion:

“Walkable urban places require a portfolio of different transportation options, not just highways. Car transportation will always be important, but metro Atlanta has to offer choices, which it does not today.


“A diverse portfolio of car/truck, rail transit, buses, bikes and walkability will allow for the real estate industry to build the walkable urban places the economy is demanding. And this is not just inside the Perimeter. National research shows that a majority of walkable urban development will be built in the suburbs — much of it outside the Perimeter.


“That is why the July 31 transportation ballot measure is the early 21st century Olympic moment for Atlanta. If you do not pass it, Atlanta will be out of position for the next generation. If you don’t build rail transit and walkable urban places, economic growth will go elsewhere.


“As a longtime friend of Atlanta, I would love to see Hotlanta become hot again.”

Learn more about the July 31 Regional Transportation Referendum here.


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