Foggy Bottom top D.C. neighborhood for walking accessibility, UMD report finds

Lia DeGroot at the GWU student newspaper wrote Foggy Bottom top D.C. neighborhood for walking accessibility, UMD report finds. The report  was authored by D.W. Rowlands. (This same analysis of course is in the Access Across America reports, without the local focus.)

DC-LenfantTransportation experts said high walkability ratings can encourage residents to walk to nearby locations, which is a healthier and more sustainable alternative to driving cars.

David Levinson, a professor of transport engineering in the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Sydney, said walking accessibility matters when people are choosing where to live. He said the more places that a person can reach in a short period of time, the higher the real estate market is in the area.

“People pay a premium (higher rents and land value) to live in places with high access by walking and public transport to jobs, shops, good schools and other amenities,” Levinson said in an email. “They pay a smaller premium for places with high accessibility by automobile.”

A report released late last year found that home sale prices in Foggy Bottom and the West End had increased by more than 40 percent in 2019.

Levinson added that city officials can time crosswalks to reduce pedestrian wait times and permit “high density developments” to increase walking accessibility in the city.

“Cities with dense street networks help, but the traffic signals also need to be timed so pedestrians don’t have to wait too long to cross the street,” he said. “If it takes two minutes to cross the street, that’s 20 percent of a 10-minute walk, and accessibility is reduced significantly.”

My full response: We prefer to talk about “accessibility”, [than density] how many destinations someone can reach in a given amount of time. So for instance, how many restaurants are within a 10 minute walk, or can you buy a pint-of-milk within 10 minutes of your home. This matters because time is limited, and the more things you can reach in less time, the more options you have, which people usually value (2 supermarkets is better than one both because of more choices and more competition driving down prices). People pay a premium (higher rents and land value) to live in places with high access by walking and public transport to jobs, shops, good schools, and other amenities. They pay a smaller premium for places with high accessibility by automobile. High is relative, so more access is better than less (all else equal). Cities with dense street networks help, but the traffic signals also need to be timed so pedestrians don’t have to wait too long to cross the street, (if it takes 2 minutes to cross the street, that’s 20% of a 10 minute walk, and accessibility is reduced significantly). Government can permit high density development so that there are more opportunities available, and it can improve walking conditions.

What is wrong with this picture

From WaPo Reduced Rail Hours Among Possible Cuts
And, from December 2008,
New Ridership Record Shows U.S. Still Lured to Mass Transit
More demand and a large fixed cost, low variable cost operation should lead to low marginal costs per additional rider and more revenue. External factors (more demand, declining petroleum costs) should make the deal even easier. WMATA raised fares last year.
Why can’t WMATA make the math work? Is there a management problem?