Have you been feeling an urge to be closer to the action? Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to climb in the car and drive 15 or 30… or 45 minutes to get groceries, take the kids to a park or watch a movie. Well you’re not alone! Millions of Millennials, Baby Boomers and young families all over the US are choosing the conveniences of city life.
The ability to walk out your front door and have access to restaurants and bars, shopping and many other daily conveniences has really started to transform our society. In addition to the convenience, walkability offers surprising benefits to our health, the environment, our finances, and our communities. Studies show that for every 10 minutes a person spends in a daily car commute, time spent in community activities falls by 10%.
So what makes a great walkable neighborhood, and which neighborhoods in the Cincinnati area are your best fit?
A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a center, whether it’s a main street or a public space. Many of Cincy’s best neighborhoods were developed around a town center. One of the most popular options is Hyde Park Square in the Hyde Park neighborhood. With the wide streets and courtyard feel, residents enjoy regular events, top notch restaurants and a great community feel. Go just a short distance and you will enter the trendy Mount Lookout neighborhood. Visit Mount Lookout Square for local restaurants and shops.
Neighboring towns like Mariemont. Madeira and Montgomery take great pride in their walkable communities. Both places offer a variety of dining and shopping options within easy walking distance of their surrounding homes. Also, both of these communities offer top notch school districts for those families with kids.
Parks and public space: Plenty of public places to gather and play keep citizens happy. Mariemont and nearby Madeira offer ample opportunities for outdoor activities. Visit their public parks or participate in one of their many youth or adult sports programs.
Pedestrian design: Buildings are close to the street welcoming pedestrian travel. Many of the communities we’ve discussed have done a tremendous job of designing their town squares with the vision of happy citizens strolling along dropping off into their favorite spots for a quick bite or to check out that new dress. Hyde Park and Mount Lookout both score very highly in this regard. You will find that many of their neighbors spend most of their time on foot.
Schools and workplaces: Close enough that most residents can walk from their homes. This one really makes the most difference, in my opinion. The ability to walk to your office or take a morning stroll with your kids to drop them off at school can be the biggest life-changing factor for someone that’s been doing the daily commute for years. Time is invaluable, and to be able to spend more of it with your family is priceless.
Madeira, Mariemont and Montgomery offer great public and private school options for families with kids. There are also several opportunities to find a home within walking distance. All of these townships also have thriving business centers so it’s possible to find work nearby.
So, after reading about what makes some of Cincinnati’s best walkable neighborhoods so great, do you feel like they’re calling your name? Take a trip to one or all of them soon, park your car and take some time to get to know these places. Spend the whole day. Visit the parks. Have a few meals. Do some shopping. Imagine yourself in the environment. If it’s you, all that’s left is to find a new place to live!