SPAAR WalkShop Report Now Available!
December 8, 2017
The Saint Paul Area Association of REALTORS® (SPAAR) hosted a walking audit or WalkShop in Saint Paul’s Rice Street corridor in April 2017. A report is now available for this event, which was coordinated by SPAAR’s Community Engagement Committee with support from a Smart Growth Grant provided by the National Association of REALTORS®.
SPAAR’s members, elected officials and North End residents participated in the day-long event.
The WalkShop had three parts:
A workshop where participants learned about Walkable Communities. SPAAR’s event featured consultants from Blue Zones, Inc., presenting on the characteristics of Walkable Communities. Participants learned how Walkable Communities impact residents’ lifestyles—and how increasing “Walkability” can encourage healthy living and social connectivity and promote sustainable business development.
A walking tour of an area that identified features that make an area walkable, or helped discover opportunities to make an area more welcoming, from a walkability standpoint. Participants broke into teams to cover an area where they could gather information and assign personal scores.
Brainstorming: Participants shared their notes and scores. Consultants compiled suggestions and identified potential projects to enhance the area. SPAAR’s WalkShop report includes overlay photos to help readers to visualize potential changes.
Walkable Communities are neighborhoods where residents can access amenities, shopping and services without using a car. These neighborhoods promote healthy lifestyles with greater focus on a sense of community. Many Walkable Communities feature small and locally-owned businesses.
Walkable Communities are popular with homeowners (and home buyers!) of all ages, but especially resonate with younger home buyers. The 2015 National Community and Transportation Preference Survey found that millennials, those aged 18–34, prefer walking as a mode of transportation by 12 percentage points over driving. Millennials are also shown to prefer living in attached housing, living within walking distance of shops and restaurants, and having a short commute, and they are the most likely age group to make use of public transportation.
The WalkShop and report are resources for communities provided by REALTOR® members to engage residents, elected officials and other stakeholders. The WalkShop is an opportunity for people to get involved by focusing on the potential of an area.
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