Tuesday, December 4, 2007

D.C., Baltimore score points for walkability

A report to be released today by the Brookings Institution ranks the Washington, D.C. region as the nation's most walkable.

And guess which city placed No. 15? Yep, the home of the Ravens - Baltimore.

Christopher Leinberger, a real estate developer and urban planner who conducted the study, counted the number of "regional-serving walkable urban places" in each of 30 metropolitan areas in the U.S. (By "regional-serving" he meant to exclude so-called "bedroom communities." The area had to have jobs, retail or cultural institutions that draw people in).

And even though many people's guess for the top spot would go to the Big Apple, the Wasington region outranked New York on a per-capita basis, with one walkable place for every 264,000 people. At No. 15, Baltimore placed behind Pittsburgh (No. 9) and Philadelphia (No. 13).

From the story:

Leinberger attributes Washington's success with walkability to several factors, including a large population of 20- and 30-somethings and recent strong economic growth. But the chief factor, he said, is the success of the Metro. The 31-year-old rail system has transformed the region, shaping development and making the walkable urban model more viable.

Like Washington, does Baltimore need a stronger rail system to move higher up the list?

Which neighborhoods in the Baltimore area would you consider walkable? Mount Vernon? Federal Hill? Hampden? Let us know.

-JACKIE SAUTER, Multimedia Editor

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