Ironically, I was a few minutes late to the NAR Expo 2016 session “What You Need To Know About Walkable Communities,” specifically because walkability around the Orlando Convention Center is, let’s be honest, not quite what it could be. Endless traffic signals favoring cars over pedestrians was the problem outside, as well as one of the key problems on the table at this session, kicked off by Kelly Morphy of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute.
Attendees learned concepts and jargon of walkability advocates, including “road diet,” a transportation planning technique where the effective width of a road is reduced in order to improve its walkability. Morphy’s preference for bike lanes and sidewalks is in the pursuit of successful development, under the premise that private investment will come as long as the appropriate public investment is made.
Walkability is not just more equitable to populations, it’s also profitable, said second speaker Christopher Coes (locusdevelopers.org), showing a slide spelling out that a rent premium of 72% is enjoyed by walkable urban real estate product in the 30 largest metros over rents in driveable suburban areas.
So keeping a balance between walking and driving in urban development not only gets people to their convention sessions on time, it can pay the bills as well.