Highest and Best Use

I saw this sign while out for a walk today in downtown Indianapolis and it made me think about just how many people are starting to recognize the value of walkable and bicycle friendly communities.  Even here in Indianapolis, one of the most car-centric cities anywhere, people are marketing walkability.  We have come a long way.

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It’s not granite countertops or a hot tub out back that this owner is selling. It’s access…active transportation access.

We still have a long way to go.  Less than a block east of this home, parking craters rule.  In fact, they’re still building more parking craters here.

Parking craters are anathema to pedestrians and vehicular bicyclists.  As you can see in the pictures below, they unnaturally spread destinations.  There’s a lot of unnecessary empty space between buildings.  This makes it more difficult to choose to walk or bicycle from here to there.

 

Parking crater under construction, 11th and Capitol, Indianapolis.  At one time, this might have been the highest and best use of this land.  Not any more…

Another parking crater, this one at 13th and Capitol. This lot is never much more crowded than this.

Yet two blocks north, this crater sits mostly empty.  In fact, it’s almost never more crowded than this.

10th and Senate, Indianapolis. The yellow star is the walkable house. The red shaded areas are parking craters. This area also has abundant on street free parking.

10th and Capitol, Indianapolis. The yellow star is the “walkable” house. The red shaded areas are parking craters. This area also has abundant on street free parking.

But I don’t care about parking craters right now.  I am absolutely ecstatic because one homeowner in the 900 block of Fayette Street in downtown Indianapolis believes that the most salable thing about his or her home is the fact that it is walkable and if you had asked me a year or two ago if this was possible I would have said absolutely not here…not in a million years.

The odds are still long, but things are slowly changing for the better. We are on the right side of history and more and more people are recognizing it.  We are winning this war one house and one block at a time.  It is trench warfare…not sexy or glamorous, but we are winning.  We are redefining the highest and best use of real estate.  It’s not parking craters.  Those are so 1980.  Nowadays, highest and best use is walkable, bikeable homes in the heart of the city.

 

 

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