Attorney with experience in banking, finance, business and real estate development spotlights borough’s neighborhoods with ‘walkability’
Some Staten Island neighborhoods are mastering the small-town appeal of bygone days, maintaining walkability in an age of commuters, vehicles and mass transit. This is apparent from St. George and Port Richmond to West Brighton, Meiers Corners, New Dorp, Eltingville, and other communities across the borough.
“Although cars are seen by many as a suburban-like necessity in some parts of Staten Island, there are neighborhoods where people stroll from their homes to enjoy local amenities,” said real estate legal expert, founder and managing partner of the law firm Menicucci Villa Cilmi PLLC. “The ‘Borough of Parks’ is particularly appealing because it offers a choice between ‘walkability’ and a more vehicle-dependent suburban lifestyle.”
Millennials have been propelling interest in walkable communities, but they are no longer alone, Menicucci said, citing a recent survey from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). According to the report, members of the silent or greatest generation, those born before 1944, also prefer smaller homes in neighborhoods with easy walks to shops and restaurants.
The “2017 National Community and Transportation Preference Survey,” which polled adults from across the United States about what they are looking for in a community, found that 62 percent of millennials and 55 percent of the silent generation prefer walkable communities and short commutes, even if it means living in an apartment or townhouse.
Gen-Xers and baby boomers still show a strong preference toward suburban living, with 55 percent of both groups saying that they have no problem with a longer commute and driving to amenities if it means living in a single-family, detached home.
According to the survey, the majority of Americans, 53 percent, would prefer to live in communities containing houses with small yards but within easy walking distance of the community’s amenities, as opposed to living in communities with houses that have large yards but they have to drive to all amenities. This up from 48 percent in 2015.
However, responders with school-age kids in the home, regardless of their generation, show a greater preference for conventional suburban communities. Sixty percent of all responders with kids in school said they prefer larger homes and yards that require driving, and that number jumps to 63 percent for millennials with kids in school.
QUALITY OF LIFE
The survey also found a majority of Americans, 88 percent, are very or somewhat satisfied with the quality of life in their communities, and 51 percent of those people believe that the walkability of their neighborhood contributes to that quality of life.
The report found that women, particularly young women, prioritize walkability and public transit more than older or younger men. Fifty-four percent of young women said that sidewalks and places to take walks is a very important factor in deciding where to live, and 39 percent said the same about having public transit nearby.
However, when it comes to a short commute to work, youth was a greater indicator of preference than gender; 49 percent of young women and 48 percent of young men said being within a short commute to work was a very important factor in deciding where to live.
While 60 percent of adults surveyed live in detached, single-family homes, 21 percent of those respondents said they would rather live in an attached home and have greater walkability. Sixty percent of those surveyed also said that they would be willing to pay a little or a lot more to live within walking distance of parks, shops and restaurants.
“The latest development projects on Staten Island’s North Shore tie in well with those seeking to embrace the conveniences of a walkable community, particularly with all the additional shopping and dining opportunities destined for the area,” Menicucci said.
When selecting a new home, respondents indicated that they would like choices when it comes to their community’s transportation options. Eighty-six percent of survey participants said that sidewalks are a positive factor when purchasing a home, and 80 percent place importance on being within easy walking distance of places.
When it comes to respondents’ thoughts on transportation priorities for the government, 73 percent indicated that maintaining and repairing roads and bridges should be a high priority, with expanding roads to help alleviate or reduce congestion as the next highest priority, at 54 percent.
The survey of 3,000 adult Americans living in the 50 largest metropolitan areas was conducted by American Strategies and Meyers Research in September 2017.