Friday, October 30, 2009

Google unveils the new Kirkland Campus Wednesday

This past Wednesday, October 25th, Google held a ceremonial opening of the new Kirkland Campus located at 747 6th Street South. Brier Dudley of the Seattle Times attended the opening and discusses the reasons why Google selected Kirkland for its new campus:

“best high-tech places in the world” states Alan Eustace, Google Senior Vice President.

“I’d rather be part of a community than just another building.” states Larry Page, Google Co-Founder.

Google’s reasons for choosing Kirkland are not only held by the business community but echoed by residents and employees as well. First and foremost whether resident, employee or employer we are all striving to be part of a larger community and in turn, community needs all these components to thrive. The pieces need to be thoughtfully designed, compact, sustainable and with a focus towards quality of life. Something Kirkland has.

A walkable community (i.e. Kirkland) by definition fulfills all these criteria by putting work, play, home and the environment together in a safe and thoughtfully designed way that merges resident, employee and employer into one.

The Google campus is another significant addition to the areas cluster of high tech companies, higher education such as the University of Washington, and other businesses together creating collaboration and synergy that will foster stability and confidence in our region for both residents and employers. This confidence in turns supports necessary infrastructure required to sustain a vibrant urban area.

Similarly, the new Nettleton Community is also a significant addition to the City of Kirkland, in response to the demands to live closer to employment, entertainment, schools… The new community provides a variety of housing to the area, maintains the look and feel of Kirkland through classic Northwest Architecture and the restoration of the Nettleton Mansion a local landmark all within an once underdeveloped urban infill site. The location of the Nettleton site is only a little over quarter mile from the new Google Campus making living and working here “eco” and “economically” friendly (i.e. lose the car), and healthy and sustainable, (i.e. walk and frequent local businesses).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why Is a Walkable Community Important?

The simple fact is, if you live in a walkable community, one that has some where to walk to, you are more apt to get out and do it. This motivation over time will lead to a better quality of life, better health and is fun.

This is becoming more and more important as our hectic lives, modern conveniences and electronic age reduce our our activity levels significantly. This has led to increasingly sedentary lifestyles for more and more people. In fact the percentage of adults who spend MOST of their day sitting increased from 36.8% in 2000 to 39.9% in 2005. This inactivity is now the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States, second only to tobacco use. Walking is considered by many fitness professional as a way to supplement or begin an exercise program, add to quality of life and reduce stress. created an important list of 10 reasons we should all walk get out and walk more:

1. Walking prevents type 2 diabetes. The Diabetes Prevention Program showed that walking 150 minutes per week and losing just 7% of your body weight (12-15 pounds) can reduce your risk of diabetes by 58%.

2. Walking strengthens your heart if you're male. In one study, mortality rates among retired men who walked less than one mile per day were nearly twice that among those who walked more than two miles per day.

Walking strengthens your heart if you're female. Women in the Nurse's Health Study (72,488 female nurses) who walked three hours or more per week reduced their risk of a heart attack or other coronary event by 35% compared with women who did not walk.

Walking is good for your brain. In a study on walking and cognitive function, researchers found that women who walked the equivalent of an easy pace at least 1.5 hours per week had significantly better cognitive function and less cognitive decline than women who walked less than 40 minutes per week. Think about that!

Walking is good for your bones. Research shows that postmenopausal women who walk approximately one mile each day have higher whole-body bone density than women who walk shorter distances, and walking is also effective in slowing the rate of bone loss from the legs.

Walking helps alleviate symptoms of depression. Walking for 30 minutes, three to five times per week for 12 weeks reduced symptoms of depression as measured with a standard depression questionnaire by 47%.

Walking reduces the risk of breast and colon cancer. Women who performed the equivalent of one hour and 15 minutes to two and a half hours per week of brisk walking had an 18% decreased risk of breast cancer compared with inactive women. Many studies have shown that exercise can prevent colon cancer, and even if an individual person develops colon cancer, the benefits of exercise appear to continue both by increasing quality of life and reducing mortality.

Walking improves fitness. Walking just three times a week for 30 minutes can significantly increase cardiorespiratory fitness.

Walking in short bouts improves fitness, too! A study of sedentary women showed that short bouts of brisk walking (three 10-minute walks per day) resulted in similar improvements in fitness and were at least as effective in decreasing body fatness as long bouts (one 30-minute walk per day).

Walking improves physical function. Research shows that walking improves fitness and physical function and prevents physical disability in older persons.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Village Walk in Bothell Scores 88 on a website that allows you to find a walkable place to live by calculating a Walk Score for any address ranks Village Walk in Bothell an 88 which equates to “Very Walkable”.  Walk Score uses a patent-pending system to measure the walkability of an address. The Walk Score algorithm awards points based on the distance to the closest amenity in each category. If the closest amenity in a category is within .25 miles (or .4 km), it assign the maximum number of points. The number of points declines as the distance approaches 1 mile (or 1.6 km)—no points are awarded for amenities further than 1 mile. Each category is weighted equally and the points are summed and normalized to yield a score from 0–100. The number of nearby amenities is the leading predictor of whether people walk.

The ranking goes from Car Dependant to Walkers Paradise. The general guidelines for interpreting your score:

·       90–100 = Walkers' Paradise: Most errands can be accomplished on foot and many people get by without owning a car.

·       70–89 = Very Walkable: It's possible to get by without owning a car.

·       50–69 = Somewhat Walkable: Some stores and amenities are within walking distance, but many everyday trips still require a bike, public transportation, or car.

·       25–49 = Car-Dependent: Only a few destinations are within easy walking range. For most errands, driving or public transportation is a must.

·       0–24 = Car-Dependent (Driving Only): Virtually no neighborhood destinations within walking range. You can walk from your house to your car!

In addition to your walk score, provides great information on what makes a neighborhood walkable, why walking matters and provides links to a host of related websites and blogs.