By Susan Long
In a newly released study, Central Perimeter was named one of the 27 regionally significant established Walkable Urban Places (WalkUPs) in Metro Atlanta and one of only four “platinum” areas in an economic success ranking of those WalkUPs.
The study authored by George Washington University School of Business professor Chris Leinberger, an expert in real estate and urban analysis, highlights areas of the Atlanta region that are WalkUPs today, those that are emerging and those that have the potential to become WalkUPs in the near future.
Walkability was determined using Walk Score, a metric developed to estimate how easy it is in a given place to live a lifestyle with minimal automobile use. Economic success was measured by office, retail and housing rents and for-sale housing values.
“The Perimeter Community Improvement Districts have led the transformation of Perimeter from a suburban car-dependent area to a livable, walkable community, which is paying off with significant economic returns, said Yvonne Williams, president and CEO of the organization funded by the districts’ commercial property owners.
“As a result of the past 13 years of work by the Perimeter CIDs, Perimeter is at the forefront of a game-changing structural shift that is underway in Metro Atlanta real estate,” Williams said.
The building of walkable urban places is the most effective economic development strategy that a CID, Atlanta and the region can pursue, Leinberger’s report said.
- New research by Leinberger reveals that sprawl is approaching an end in Metro Atlanta. Instead, WALKUPs will drive tomorrow’s real estate industry and the economy both nationally and in Metro Atlanta for decades to come.
- The market share of the region’s development within established WalkUPs over the past three real estate cycles (1992 to 2009) has steadily and rapidly increased, the report noted. And, in the current real estate cycle, more that 60 percent of income producing property in the region has been developed in established or emerging WalkUPs.
- The WalkUPs that rank the best economically have the highest educational attainment (share of population over 25 years of age with a college degree) and share of knowledge industry jobs. These workers want to live in vibrant walking communities where they don’t have long commutes.
- The report also pointed out the economic importance of the availability of MARTA rail transit in an area. Sixteen or 59 percent of the 27 regionally significant Walk Ups have rail transit. Within both established and emerging WalkUPs, the vast majority of recent development has gone to those areas that are served by MARTA rail.
Williams said improved pedestrian access has been a major goal since the establishment of the Perimeter Community Improvement District (PCIDs) to improve transportation infrastructure and traffic in one of the region’s largest office districts and employment centers. The PCIDs first project was adding miles of sidewalks and pedestrian crosswalks.
“We continue to emphasize the importance of pedestrian connectivity in all of our projects,” Williams added.
She cited as examples the pedestrian median that improves safety in the Ashford Dunwoody and I-285 Diverging Diamond Interchange, the Hammond Half-Diamond brickprint crosswalks that improve visibility for pedestrians and pedestrian accessibility improvements that the PCIDs are implementing for the districts’ three MARTA stations.
“The PCIDs are laying the foundation for Perimeter to be a sustainable, economically strong area for decades to come,” Williams said.