Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Kirkland Prioritizes "Walkability"

The below link will take you to a great King 5 Report with Jane McCarthy regarding what the City of Kirkland and a local developer are doing to help make our Cities Walkable. Check it out.


Top 10 Benefits of a Walkable Community

There seems to be more discussion everyday regarding walkable communities. Why is this topic on peoples mind? It can only be the benefits of a walkable community that makes this issue important.

Benefits are of course different for each of us, but for the sake of discussion I have attached a list of 10 benefits that seem to show up in almost every list. From this list I will go into further detail on each in subsequent blog posts.

So here are the most common benefits of walkable communities. Please feel free to provide your own or comments about these!!!!

1. Less traffic congestion: According to the Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey, 25 percent of all car trips are less than a mile. Sidewalks and safe crossings enable you to reach destinations on foot, which reduces traffic congestion and air pollution.

2. Higher property values: Homes in pedestrian-friendly communities make good investments. Sidewalks and quiet, tree-lined streets boost the value of your home. A 1999 study by the Urban Land Institute showed buyers willing to pay a $20,000 premimum for homes in walkable/ pedestrian friendly areas verus homes in surrounding areas.

3. Lower transportation costs: Fewer car trips = lower gasoline costs. Each time you walk instead of drive, you save money on gas and maintenance.

4. Stronger local businesses: A walkable downtown attracts more stores and creates a thriving place to shop, eat, and find entertainment. Dense, walkable neighborhoods offer places that are easier for pedestrians to shop at many stores in one trip, eliminating the need to drive between destinations. Furthermore, walkable communities seem to attract tourists who are interested in these active, safe and interesting neighborhoods. In turn, tourism helps maintain a thriving local economy!!!

5. Sense of community: Where pleasant walking conditions exist, residents are more likely to know their neighbors and feel connected to their community. In addition, walking increases social capital by promoting face-to-face interaction with neighbors. According to studies published by Cascadia Scorecard, for every 10 minutes a person spends in a daily car commute, time spent in community activities falls by 10 percent.

6. Reduced crime: Vibrant, walkable neighborhoods have more eyes on the street both in the form of people and the orientation buldings making Walkable neighborhoods a safe place to walk, work, live and visit.

7. Better health: People who live in walkable communities are more active and enjoy cleaner air. Studies are showing that the residents of walkable communities have a lower BMI number (Body Mass Index) than that of someone who lives in a more suburban neighborhood. Additionally, residents of walkable neighborhoods drive less and suffer fewer car accidents, a leading cause of death between the ages of 15–45.

8. Less stress: Making multiple car trips per day, shuttling children and driving in commuter traffic can be a stressful undertaking. On the otherhand, Being outdoors and walking with your family to your desinations can improve your health, reduce stress, save time and provide quality time together as a family.

9. Less pollution: Walking creates no harmful emissions.

10. Increased pedestrian safety: With increased pedestrian activity comes improved pedestrian facilities which in turn leads to more pedestrians which ultimately leads to streets that are safe to cross and comfortable for pedestrians, of all ages and abilities.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Daily Journal of Commerce Report on CamWest's Latest Walkable Community

Daily Journal of Commerce
June 26, 2009
Mansion moved to make way for 24 new homes in Kirkland

Image courtesy of CamWest Development
The Nettleton Mansion was moved to a new location on the site. CamWest is selling the home for $1.2 million.

These days when it comes to residential development, walkability trumps location.
The two factors are tightly intertwined, yet developers such as CamWest Development like to feature the pedestrian experience.
In launching Nettleton Commons, a project with 25 single-family homes about a quarter-mile from downtown Kirkland, CamWest directs reporters to WalkScore.com, which calculates an area's walkability.
The 2.5-acre project site's highest score is closest to downtown. That area rates a 97 out of 100, or what WalkScore says is a “walker's paradise.”
Go to the point farthest from the city center and the score drops to 82, which the site still considers “very walkable.”
“We've always been focused on infill,” said Eric Campbell, president of CamWest, which was formed 20 years ago at about the time the state approved the Growth Management Act, whose aim is to combat urban and suburban sprawl.
As more people moved to the Puget Sound region from the East Coast and other countries where walkability is prized, CamWest began adding pedestrian amenities to its developments.
A curving sidewalk cuts through the middle of Nettleton Commons.
A curving sidewalk serves as the spine of Nettleton Commons, Campbell said. Residents and neighbors will be able to cut through the approximately $12 million project as they walk or bicycle to and from downtown rather than walking along State Street.
Drivers will also be able to traverse Nettleton Commons, though the street, Third Lane South, curves and would be slower than traveling on State.
The key to developing a walkable community is to work with consultants “who can work with and be creative with the topography,” Campbell said. “What you don't want is a team that comes in with a pre-conceived design package.”
The 1914 Nettleton Mansion, a southern-colonial revival style home built for former Seattle Post-Intelligencer publisher Clark M. Nettleton, was on the site. It was designed as a replica of his wife Jennie's childhood home in Missouri.
The mansion later became a funeral home.
CamWest worked with the city of Kirkland and Kirkland Heritage Society to preserve the mansion, which was moved to a different location on the site and refurbished. The Robinson Co. of Snohomish County moved the mansion.
CamWest is selling the home, which is slightly less than 3,000 square feet, for $1.2 million.
The 24 new homes are sized from nearly 2,200 square feet to slightly more than 2,800 square feet. They will range in price from the high $600,000s to the high $800,000s, Campbell said.
The three-star BuiltGreen homes were designed to capture natural light. The homes have open floor plans, high-end kitchens and hardwood floors.
CamWest, which is its own general contractor, began construction late last year. The project is to be done in September.
Campbell said there still is demand for close-in locations. With lower interest rates and lower construction costs, he said today's purchasing power is as much as 25 percent greater than it was 18 months ago.
Triad Associates did the site plan and landscape architecture. The Dahlin Group is the architect. False Creek Design Group of Vancouver, B.C., designed the interiors. Site Development Co. of Bothell is the project civil engineer. David Little of Windermere is the listing agent.

Copyright ©2009 Seattle Daily Journal and djc.com. Comments? Questions? Contact us.

Welcome to our "Walkable Community Blog"

Finally after entirely too long we have our Walkable Communities blog up and going. The idea is to create a place for residents, business owners, public officials (just about anyone) who utilizes their neighborhood by foot or on two wheels the opportunity to share events, discussions, information, photos, opinions etc. related to Walkable Communities here in the Pacific Northwest.

Our hope is that this forum will become a positive place that both provides information and fosters community and maybe even elicits change for the better.

To start things off lets define what a “Walkable Community” is:

From my perspective a Walkable Community is where there are a variety of home choices located within close “walkable” proximity to the services and amenities that sustain residents. For example, such services could include retail stores, restaurants, grocery stores, employment, schools, parks, libraries, etc.

For a second and more official opinion, Wikipedia defines walkability as "The extent to which the built environment is friendly to the presence of people living, shopping, visiting, enjoying or spending time in an area".

Thanks for taking time to check us out and we look forward to hearing from you!!!