From the Forum – Maximum Walk Time To Be Considered Walkable?

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Maximum Walk Time To Be Considered Walkable?

“I am debating whether or not to move or add on and was wondering what most people consider an acceptable time to walk to an amenity to classify it as walkable as that is a factor in my decision. Currently, it takes me 2 minutes to walk to the nearest bus stop, 7 to a park, 15 to the bars/restaurants and 25 minutes to a metro.”

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58 Comment

  • justinbc

    What I would walk to myself, and what I would describe something as “walkable” (more of a real estate term in my mind) are a bit different. I would say 20 minutes for most things for the former, and 10 minutes for the latter. It also really depends on the audience, whether I’m saying it to friends who are young and spry, or office associates who may be a good bit older.

  • 1/4 mile or less is ideal. Around a metro station, the draw is about 1/2 mile to reap the benefits of a transit influence around walkable destingations. 1/4 shold be 15 min or less.

    • I don’t think it takes 15 minutes to walk a quarter mile. I am about 7/10 of a mile from Metro and it is an easy 12 minute walk.

      • That’s funny. If it took you 15 minutes to walk a quarter mile, it would take you a minute to walk to first base on a baseball diamond. AND YOU”RE OUT!

        I think a good rule of thumb for walking pace is 4 mph so 1 mile = 15 minutes.

        For me, 15 minutes is fine for shopping/dining/park but I personally think that becomes a bit tedious if you have to do that walk twice a day to get to a metro station as part of your commute.

        • I also walk a 15 minute mile buy i am fairly young and used to walking. I’d say a 20 minute mile is a better estimate for most people.

          • Yep, I’m young and in OK shape and I walk a lot, but I’m also slow and I have short legs, so I average somewhere around a 20 minute mile.

  • At a normal pace, it takes 20 minutes to walk a mile. Thus, 30 minutes or 1.5 miles is what I consider very easily walkable.

    • …. depends on the context! No way am I walking 30 min to the metro each way every day. And 30 min in DC isn’t do-able most of the year because of the extreme weather one way or the other.

      • Oh please. I walk to work every day (2.2 miles round trip) no matter what the weather. Being out in the elements is good for you and the benefits of walking every day are numerous.

        • There is a difference between a 1.1 mile walk to work, and a 1.5 mile walk to a metro. The former, you are already at work, the latter, you are only to the metro, where you then have two escalator (entrance and exit) and a walk to and from the platform (entrance and exit) and presumably a walk at the exit to your office.

          A 1.1 mile walk each way to your office is awesome though. I am certainly jealous!

  • I’m a little confused by this question. OP, are you wondering what we, personally would walk, or are you looking to add a rental unit and wondering what you can/should describe as walkable in your listing? I personally don’t mind walking and even usually like it, in all but the absolute worst weather. So, for me personally, if I’m not in a rush, I consider anything less than two miles away (about 35-40 minutes since I’m a slow walker with short legs) to be walkable. However, I’d never describe something that’s more than a 10-15 minute walk as “walkable” in a real estate listing, to a friend, etc. In your specific case, I’d say the bus, park and bars/restaurants are all within walking distance, but the Metro is not.

  • If you’re trying to decide whether to stay where you are or to move, I’m not sure it really matters what other people think is a “walkable” distance, only what YOU think is an acceptable distance for you.
    The claims of real estate agents, landlords, etc. re. “walkability” are always to be regarded with some suspicion, too, as they tend to stretch things a bit to make a property look more appealing.
    Is there any way to shorten the 25 minutes to Metro, like taking a bus to the Metro?

    • buy a cheap bike and a couple good locks. 25 becomes 10 then. danger is maybe you’ll decide to just keep riding to your final destination.

    • justinbc

      Yeah, seriously, so many people don’t even look at the bus options when deciding where to live. I personally find the bus less crowded and better regulated temperature wise than the train ever is.

      • Depends on the bus line. I generally find the buses I ride to be smelly, dirty and filled with horrible behavior. Metro is sometimes filled with bad behavior, but is usually not smelly or dirty.

        • justinbc

          I suppose it can vary depending on where it’s going, but that still shouldn’t account for discounting it completely without even trying it. Ours will have the occasional “baked pee” smell if the heat is running while a homeless person is on it, but aside from that is relatively clean.

        • brookland_rez

          Except for those metro cars that moisture/mold issues.

      • Agreed. Many lines also run later than the Metro. I also prefer being above ground, even on gloomy days, but that’s just a personal preference.

      • I will never again look at bus options when buying a home. Renting, maybe, but not buying. I bought my last house because it was on two great bus lines to two metros. Within a year they’d pared down service so much that I literally could not get home from work because there was no bus service after 7. And the morning rush bus only came once an hour (vs every 20 mn when I moved in), so that was a danger if you missed it. I ended up having to drive to work for 6 years until I could afford to sell the place and move. And I hate driving. There is jut too much of a chance of them changing the route of cutting service. Sure, they can do that on metro, too, but it is much less likely – especially if you’re in the core.

        • Hmm, that was supposed to be a comment in response to justinbc. At any rate, I’d actually prefer to be on a bus route – cheaper housing – but metro it is for me.

        • You wouldn’t look into ANY bus options? Some buses are extremely reliable and convenient. I live two blocks from a metro station but usually take the bus everywhere because the buses that come through my neighborhood are so good.

        • Sounds like you live in BFE somewhere. Central part of DC bus routes are pretty solid.

          • Yeah, this person must live really far from the core! I used to Live in Burke, VA, and even the Express buses ran after 7pm and more frequently than once an hour. In my experience living in DC they seem to be increasing service, not cutting it.

  • I immediately dismiss/despise/ignore any posting anywhere for any thing that says “walkable.” It is meaningless. Everything is walkable if you walk far enough. Just put the exact distance or link to a map and let people decide.

  • Are you primarily concerned about resale value? I think your best bet to judge “walkability” is checking the location’s WalkScore. WalkScore has chronically inaccurate information about the businesses near my home, and I don’t trust it–but unfortunately, real estate agents and folks who doesn’t intimately know your neighborhood are likely to trust it.

    • Walkscore does seem to be highly inaccurate, especially in quickly changing areas and with drive times during rush hour when predicting commute, but it’s a helpful gauge to start with. I used it when looking to buy a house to get an idea of whether or not we’d want a car for example.

  • It depends upon the season. In sweat season, I am much less willing to walk anything further than a half mile if I need to look decent on arrival.

  • My primary judgement of walkability is “can I carry my groceries home?”

  • 5 minutes for a bar
    15 minutes for the metro

  • The DEFINITIVE Definition of walkable: Convenience Store in the same block, bus stop, no more than 1 block away, proper supermarket no more than 1/4 mile, metro Stop within 1Km. This is based on where I live 😉

  • Huh? How does our opinion on walkable affect your decision?

    …Anywho, carrying 3/4 bags of groceries is the best measure so far.

  • When I lived in San Francisco, everything I needed: Groceries, coffee, restaurants, drug store was within a mile, and I walked everywhere. Transit, with the exception of Bart and Caltrain, was obviously much closer. In Petworth, everything but groceries are within a mile and that will be remedied very soon.

    Good enough for me. Once the new Safeway arrives, I may give up my car again.

    • justinbc

      I sold mine when I originally moved to Logan Circle. I found myself only ever turning it on to move from one side of the street to the other during the street sweeping time of year. It’s definitely a relief giving up those hundreds of dollars a month, even for a minor inconvenience (although easily offset by not having to find parking in Logan Circle).

  • It’s not as simple as that…how are you getting to/from work? If metro, then you’d want metro to be less than 25 minutes or have an alternate way to get to work if the weather sucks (25 minutes in a driving rain is not a great start to the work day).

    Also, assuming you occasionally go out at night, how do you get home? Not sure a 25 minute walk from the metro at 2 am is a great idea in many parts of the city.

    Another way to express this might be “can you live without a car” which probably boils down more to retail close by (e.g. is there a grocery store with 5 blocks) than it does to proximity to bus, metro or bars…

  • 15 minutes is the max over for me. I want a bar / restaurants in 5 minutes or more, bus in 2 minutes or so, and a metro in 12 or less. Best way to cut down on your walk time is to get into section 8 housing, they are in the best locations in NW, closest walking to everything.

  • Depends on where you have to go and when you have to go there and the route you have to take, but generally if anybody told me something was walkable in DC and it took more than 1/2 mile or 10 mins. of walking, I’d call them a liar. The potential to be subject to extreme heat/humidity in summer and ice/cold in winter has to be considered. And some places I simply wouldn’t walk through at certain hours. So it’s BS to say a location is walkable if you know full well I have to get through Stabby-land to get there on the most direct route possible.

  • I don’t understand the question. Whatever you are willing to walk to is considered walkable. Whatever you are not willing to walk to is not walkable. It’s a subjective term, not an objectively defined truth. The End.

    • I don’t like this objective spin you’re placing on your subjective statement. 😉

    • “Whatever you are willing to walk to is considered walkable.”
      So tell us what you are willing to walk! That is what the question is asking! Do you really not understand that? Jeez.

      • I think the reason many posters have asked what the OP meant is that, unless the OP is planning to sublet or sell his/her unit, it doesn’t really matter what other people think is walkable.
        If the original question had been phrased as “I’m a 25-minute walk from the Metro. I don’t really feel like this counts as ‘walkable,’ but maybe I’m just being lazy and I need to man/woman up and do it. What do others out there think constitutes ‘walkable’?”, then I think the replies would have been somewhat different (although varied).

        • Textdoc, “many people” haven’t asked what the OP meant; besides, I have no problem with that. OP asked for subjective opinions and the best that Anon 3:26 could come up with is “I don’t understand! That’s not objective!” That’s pretty ridiculous.

  • ‘walkable’ – depends to what. I’m deep in Brookland. Bus Stop in front of my house directly to the metro in less than 10 minutes, but a 15-20 minute walk. I can walk to a 7-11 in 5 minutes, but it would take about 45 to walk to GIant/Home Depot. Once we get more options, then I might think of my hood as more walkable.

  • Doesn’t sound very walkable to me….depends if it’s a good bus route or not.

    Personally, I would feel “walkable” with metro w/in 12 min, and some kind of grocery/convenience store w/in 3 min, and I use buses primarily for short trips, when the walk would be 20-30 min, not crosstown, and not when there is a 20 min wait.

    • So Logan Circle isn’t walkable?

      • that’s why I don’t live there ;-P

        Also, I said buses make it walkable. But if you live say a 25 min walk from Ft. Totten metro thats very different. Thanks for the snark.

        • I didn’t intend to be snarky. I was just curious what people think about Logan Circle’s walkability. People I know who live there either walk to nearby places on 14th or take a $5 Uber ride. It’s an odd location where public transit and cars don’t make sense but walking and cabs do.

  • Something else to consider is the “feel” of the neighborhood. Is there a lot of street crime, poor lighting, or bad sidewalks? Busy roads? Not many trees? Lots of hills? Not many pedestrians? Just a lot of big apartment/office buildings without ground-level retail? All these things can make it a lot less pleasant to trudge back and forth between home and amenities.

    • Yeah, I was walking from the Woodley Park metro up to the zoo last weekend and was thinking that, although the neighborhood is safe and close to the metro and a strip of retail/restaurants, the walkability’s not quite there when you head up Connecticut ave. just blocks and blocks of big apartment buildings, and the hill doesn’t help!

  • How can this question be answered? People are so very different in how they walk. I walk rather slowly (I look around a lot), so a 20-minute walk for me may be a 10-minute walk for someone else. It’s an entirely subjective judgment.

    If you need the info to decide whether to buy or rent living quarters, or to advertise same, you might consult the “walkability” index that many real estate listings include. I’m guessing they try to pitch it to the median walk time.

  • I am a 15 minute walk to the metro and that’s about what I would say is the max for walkable if you don’t have a car. Also, very important is whether you have access to zipcar, car2go, or bikeshare.

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