Most of us know the importance of walk ability when it comes to choosing a place to live. As we’ve said before, it seems like more people in the Phoenix Metropolitan area are becoming aware of a more urban lifestyle, but most still prefer to drive.
We’ve heard a lot about the trend to build infill developments in urban cores for several years now. Who knows, the time may be right. In our area and across the country, people seem to desire the convenience and time-saving aspects of living in walk able neighborhoods.
“Six in 10 adults said they would rather live in a neighborhood that featured a mix of houses, stores, and businesses within an easy walk” – 2011 Community Preference Survey
Living, working and playing close to home can be convenient and cost effective. Around here, many people are surprised to discover how few choices we really have, though. Affordable housing near the light rail line is scarce, off-campus housing for ASU students can be difficult to find, and seniors have limited options, as well. Yes, thousands of homes and apartments are scattered along the 20 miles of our light rail system, yet true urban and walk able experiences are much more limited than those found in other cities.
As we see new infill projects come to life, I believe it will help many aspects of the market. While people love the ( hard to find ) single family housing neighborhoods close to convenient transit options, there is also a clear need for mid level, multi purpose developments where restaurants, shops and offices share space with residential components.
Lord knows we have plenty of infill spaces in the Valley. As one of the major sprawl centers of the universe, Phoenix grew for decades, leaving many smaller yet great spaces unattended to. Along the 20 mile stretch of our light rail line you won’t ride for long without being able to see many desirable locations where quality development is just waiting to happen. And happen it will:
Think about it. Demand for homes and business along the line has been high, yet choices remain lower than many realize. When you think about walking somewhere in our towns, the areas in downtown Phoenix, the Mill Avenue District and a few others are considered pretty convenient and easy to get around. For instance, I can easily walk from the light rail station on Mill Avenue and head down to a place like La Bocca with no problem. It takes just a few minutes to walk there, and the many places I see while on my way make for a much more pleasant journey. On the other hand, if someone walks from Lux in Phoenix to the George and Dragon, the amount of “dead space” on the way makes the walk seem so much farther.
As we continue to grow and as we continue to see even more urban spaces become available, I believe we will continue to see some great things happening along the line. Homes, entertainment, shopping and more can and should all be right outside of your front door.