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Los Angeles Is On The Way To Becoming A Walkable City, Study Says

L.A. has the potential to be a walkable city (Photo by sirimiri via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Los Angeles may be poised to become a walkable metro area, eschewing its stigma (and Missing Persons song) that nobody walks in L.A. A report from Smart Growth America and George Washington University ranks L.A. at 18th most walkable out of 30 major metro areas. The study identified "Walkable Urban Places" (or, WalkUPs) in 30 metro areas and then ranked them using a variety of factors including transit availability, business data and per capita GDP. A WalkUP is identified as having 1.4 million square feet or more in office space, 340,000 square feet or more in retail space and a walkability score of 70 or higher.

The top cities were Washington D.C., New York, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle. Last was Orlando, Fla.

While 18th might not seem too impressive, the report predicts that L.A. may advance to place at 11 out of 30. This has a lot to do with L.A.’s increased commitment to public transit and its 54 current walkable neighborhoods. Also, one of the primary factors in ranking was how much office and retail space were in these WalkUPs. Los Angeles only has 15.5 percent of its retail and office space in WalkUPs (a third of what D.C. has), but one reason for the low number is that a lot of commercial spaces have been turned into residential properties. So, there’s a high potential for future growth and a demand for these types of neighborhoods.

The report’s caveat is that walkability often comes at a price: affordability. Therefore, cities should make sure they have a deliberate strategy in place to ensure that affordable housing is considered when developing walkable areas.

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[h/t to Curbed LA]