Monday, July 7, 2008

Most Fuel Efficient Neighborhoods

Two Texas communities crack the top ten. Which in a weird sort of way would favor walkable neighborhoods in areas of cheaper cost of living (where most of them aren't) such as certain neighborhoods in Dallas. For all of the good effort the Center of Neighborhood Technology put forth on this, I'm not sure a group based in Chicago knows each of the cities studied well enough to properly identify each neighborhood in question and its boundaries.

For example, Greenville in Dallas. What does that mean? I assume it means the neighborhoods supporting Lower Greenville Avenue, but there isn't much transit service supporting that area. Anecdotally and perceptually, the CityPlace area of uptown is best situated for multi-modal access and walkability with a solid grid network, and immediate access to highway, DART rail, and trolley line, combine that with Dallas cost of living, say versus Mission Bay or Brooklyn Heights and one could assume it's pretty affordable.

By the way, I spent much of this holiday weekend in that area on McKinney Avenue. I spotted a whopping 9 vespas this weekend, 7 of which were cruising McKinney Avenue. The other two were tooling around downtown which was a veritable ghost town yesterday.

Key Quote from the article:

Owning a home in walkable neighborhoods saves residents $300 to $400 a month, up to 4,800 a year, on gas expenses alone, according to research by the Congress for the New Urbanism. Kicking the car habit yields larger consequences: Traffic congestion sucked $78 billion from the economy in 2005, added 4.2 billion hours in commuter time, and wasted almost 3 billion gallons of gasoline, according to a 2007 Urban Mobility Report by the Texas Transportation Institute.
Another important statistic from the article, and in fact, probably the most important item from the entire study, as we rethink how we organize ourselves in the future and the decisions we make:
"For every dollar working families save on housing, it spends nearly $2 on transportation."

Greenville (Dallas, Texas)
Cost: $745
Greenville, commonly split into upper and lower sections, is distinct from many northern Dallas suburbs because residents commuting to downtown can typically get the job done in 10 minutes. Public transit ridership, at 11%, is tenfold the rate in Arlington, thanks to a centrally located Dallas Area Transit Station that shuttles people to virtually anywhere in the city. Those cowboys living in McMansions near Dallas-Fort Worth airport drive nearly double the annual mileage of Greenville households.