Monday, August 25, 2008

Walkability

In this article, "Obesity Linked to Newer, Less Walkable Neighborhoods," another excuse is given for being overweight. Unfortunately, I live in an old neighborhood, built well before 1950 and we have everything we need within walking distance. I brought this topic up in a current events group at the nursing home, which I work at. I asked the residents what was important to them when buying a home? The answers they gave were important to them mostly because they grew up in a time when families were lucky to have a car. Now, we live in a society where most families have a car for each driving member of the family. What used to be important, such as living near your place of employment, church, store, schools, etc., seems to be much less important than living in bigger, newer houses.

I love my old house. I love my old neighborhood with many sidewalks buckling from tree roots and where each house is unique with different colors, designs and tastes displayed on each block. When we bought our house, we had a few items that were on our wish list. We didn't want to live on a corner lot: too much shoveling. We wanted two bathrooms: hers and hers?? We wanted at least three bedrooms: who knew we'd need more...we do have 5, but only use 3 as bedrooms right now. We wanted a nice yard: our backyard is a lot and a half. We wanted a workable kitchen: finally after 8 years. We wanted to pay under $100,000: got a bargain from the family of the man that lived there.

I suppose we did discuss needing to live near shopping, church, work, etc., but that was definitely not high on our list. Now, that we live in our neighborhood, I am grateful for the "walkability" as I am able to take walks to church, the library, the post office, the gas station/convenience store, and through the fair park. Glad we have sidewalks, and also glad I'm not on that corner lot ;)

Do you have sidewalks and is "walkability" important to you?

11 comments:

SuperDave said...

Neat topic.
I live in Tennessee and because much of the state is rural, there is not sidewalks. Very dissapointing! I often wish that I could run into town or to my church or wherever..small post about that
Growing up in Chicago, I could walk for 50 miles and never run out of sidewalks. What a change!
I rarely see anyone walking or running - only on the highways now.

Andrew is getting fit said...

Interesting. Walkability never used to be important to me but now it's one of my prime criteria!

Kathy said...

The house we lived in the first 33 years of our marriage...it was supposed to be our "starter" home...was in an old university neighborhood with churches, grocery stores, a beautiful city park, and the University of Indianapolis right there within walking distance. We started out with a two bedroom, one bath and ended up with three bedrooms and two baths after two remodels. And, yes, we were the corner lot!!! But that corner paid off in aces when the university wanted it for expansion and paid us a very nice price for that century old house and its big old trees! So I guess all those years of picking up discarded fast food wrappers and cups from the yard were worth it! When we picked this house it had to be one level, have a big kitchen, and it had to be on water! But it is not walking distance to anything!!!

Matt Keeling said...

Interesting topic for sure. I am somewhat in the market for a house right now but scared about getting mine sold. That said, my current home is in a neighborhood with no sidewalks or curbs. 1950's track building at its best. It is a nice house small house but there will be need for more room in the near future. So with no curbs or sidewalks now I will not move into a neighborhood without them. Particularly now that I am running and paying more attention to my health.

Kate said...

I have to say, that I came from the country, so there was no where within walking distance, but we were outside, playing in the fields plenty. When I bought a house, I purchased in a newer development with sidewalks, and I love that I have a place to walk and run, although I yearn to be out in the middle of nowhere on the country roads.

I suppose it might just be the area I live in, as there aren't many neighborhoods that are walkable...but maybe this is one of the reasons michigan is ranked as one of the most overweight?

kborn said...

True walkability in NYC!! There are some parks, oddly enough, that are not walkable. Sad maintenance and cracks and I guess maybe if I would invest in a $600 stroller my walking woes in the park would go away...eh, Q will be walking before long with me!
It's probably the best thing about moving here after baby #1--walk to the grocery store, pharmacy, parks, and music classes. Even when we drive somewhere, it's a long walk to get to your destination as parking is a bear!
Can't wait to be back in the midwest, but I don't think walkablity will be in my future neighborhood, so I'll enjoy it while I have it!

Lisa Newton said...

I love living in a very walkable area, grocery store, post office, bank, and the library.

I agree with Andrew, walkability wasn't too important before, but it's high on my list now.

Edge of Design said...

For us it was living close enough to the convenience of a city but far enough away to enjoy the quiet of the country and the sight of the odd deer, rabbit, etc. running across the yard. Oh and it sure helps that we don't get the snow here that you do. We barely get any. In fact, it's rare. :) (I used to live in Canada so I know what I enjoy the most. NO SNOW!)

new*me said...

it's very important to me. Our house here is 125 plus years old. It's been added on twice. We have sidewalks all over our little town. Most of us keep them up well. People walk by our home all the time because we live right below the library and next to a park. I don't know if I could live somewhere without a place to walk.

D said...

Walkability was very important to us. We'd come from a newer home (10 yrs. old when we bought it) and when I didn't have a vehicle at home, there also weren't stores to walk to. Not very convenient at all. Now I have a vehicle at home but I try to walk or bike to the stores/appointments/library etc. I LOVE that about our 1950's neighbourhood. Oh and $100,000?? That's a joke around here! A "good deal" is about $300,000! Thankfully we bought before prices had hit there. And we wanted some property -- we have a very country backyard -- deer & all sorts of animals, forest nearby, but we're in the city.

Just wanted to let you know that I've blogged today -- you knew I couldn't stay away until September, didn't you??!!! D

merry mary said...

Walkability is totally important to me. Actually its almos tthe most important thing I have in mind as I am looking for a place to live in the new city I am moving to. I really want to live somewhere where I can walk to everything I need. I lived in Salzburg Austria for a while and that was fantastic because I could walk 1-2 miles and reach everything in town. I really want to live in that kind of environment again instead of the suburb I live in now where its at least 4 miles to the nearest thing and i have to drive everywhere! I hate it!