When you are shopping for your home in the St. Louis area, the convenience of getting to work is a major plus or minus with any home you consider. If you work in downtown St. Louis and prefer not to drive, you might look for proximity to bus stops or transit stations. You also want a place that will promote a healthy life style. One of your top criteria might be the ease of getting around without a car, aside from driving to work. You are attracted to the area for its many parks, so you want easy access to them, but you'd like to be able to walk a short distance for a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread and not have to travel too far for other things you need. How can you determine whether to look in Chesterfield or Wildwood or Kirkwood if walkability is your goal?
According to the Sightline Institute, which has developed the concept of "walk score," what makes an area walkable is having needed services nearby; any amenity within .25 miles is considered walkable until it is one mile away. Walkability is assessed on a 100 point scale. Needless to say, the areas with the highest walk scores are likely to be in urban areas where residential, commercial, and retail space is intertwined and concentrated. Sometimes suburban areas with big lots and rambling streets yield low walkability scores. The streets may prove great for walking, but walking to a destination might be more challenging.
Suppose you decide on Kirkwood. To determine the walkability of a particular area, just go to www.walkscore.com and enter your address. Your search will yield a walk score and list the type of facilities nearby. Here's an example. If you enter Kirkwood, MO in the walk score box, you will see that the town as a whole has a walk score of 91 - which ranks it as a "Walker's Paradise." Suppose you were looking at a home at 411 Clark Ave., which has a walk score of 57 and is rated "Somewhat Walkable. There is a bookstore and a clothing store .2 of a mile away, but transit, grocery stores, and most other amenities are over a half mile away. This is technically within the walkability limit, but might be too far away to be practical - especially if you have kids in tow, have a lot of shopping to do, or are going out at night. The driving distance is short. In contrast, a place at 548 S. Harrison not only has a beautiful flowering tree in the front year but has a walk score of 71.
About 10% of the homes in Kirkwood have walk scores over 90%. In Kirkwood, there is a concentration of stores and services are located near the intersection of Adams Ave. and Kirkwood Rd. The closer you live to this intersection, the greater the likelihood is that you can leave your car, if you have one, parked at home. The scores, of course, only measure that a representative service is available in the area, not your preference or where similar items might be found for the best price. In walkable areas, McDonald's might be right there, which is not a plus if you prefer Burger King.
Walk scores are more than a novelty. A recent report by CEOs for Cities estimate that home values increase when the neighbor is walkable. In the cities studied for the report, an additional one point increase in Walk Score was associated with between a $500 and $3,000 increase in home values. The study does not assumes that home values elsewhere would rise by the same amounts, but the walk score is often included in listings on Zillow and other real estate sites. This indicates that accessibility to services is one thing that people look for when home buying and could be factor in how much they are willing to pay.
Interested in buying where some things you need are within walking distance? Check out homes you like at www.theStLHomefinder.com and then find out how car dependent the places are www.walkscore.com. Then call the Becky O'Neill POWER Team. We promise a Positive Outcome With Outstanding Results. Visit www.beckyoneill.com and our property site, www.TheStLHomefinder.com today.
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