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Study: DC is one of the most walkable metro areas in nation

The D.C. area ranks second among 30 of the most walkable metropolitan areas in the United States. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON — One of the nation’s most walkable places is, literally, in our backyard.

The D.C. area ranks second among 30 of the most walkable metropolitan areas in the United States.

According to the study from George Washington University’s Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis (CREUA), New York City ranks first. Boston, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle complete the study’s list of highest-ranking Walkable Urban Places — or WalkUPs.

A “WalkUP,” is defined in this study as “the percentage of office, retail and rental apartment space that’s in a place — like Dupont Circle, like Reston Town Center — where you can walk to get most of your daily needs met,” said Professor Chris Leinberger a GWU professor and chair of CREUA.

Leinberger said social equity is also factored into their rankings.

Even though housing in walkable urban areas tends to be more expensive than housing in drivable suburban areas, the study found that in walkable areas, low-income households “spend a good deal less on transportation,” Leinberger said, noting that the reduced transportation costs offset the higher housing price tag. Leinberger also says there is accessibility to more jobs in these spaces.

The entire D.C. metro area was factored into this study.

“Our numbers show about 50 percent of the new development is going to D.C. itself.”

But that doesn’t mean the ‘burbs are going anywhere.

“The other 50 percent of the walkable urban development is going to the urbanizing suburbs.” Leinberger said citing Arlington, downtown Bethesda, Silver Spring and Reston Town Center as examples.


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