While not everyone pines for an urban lifestyle, many people see the advantages of living in a place where residents can walk to most destinations, easily access public transportation and enjoy cultural attractions. Perhaps, they can even live car-free.
Walk Score (www.walkscore.com) is a Web site that rates neighborhoods based on their “walkable” features. Since the site was launched in July 27, more than 6 million addresses have been searched.
Walk Score defines a walkable neighborhood as one that has a center (a main street, public square or shopping district); density, which means that local businesses can flourish and public transportation runs frequently; mixed-income and mixed-use developments are part of the community; parks or other public spaces are easily accessible; a pedestrian-centric design with buildings placed near the street for foot traffic, and nearby schools and workplaces.
Most of these elements are found in neighborhoods within city limits, but developers are now creating communities in the suburbs with town centers that mimic urban areas. Many of these suburban town centers include restaurants, shops and entertainment venues, along with office space and a residential component, where residents can find urban-style living outside the city.
At Capitol Quarter, EYA is building 208 town homes within walking distance of the Navy Yard and Capitol South Metro stations, Nationals Park, and shops and restaurants along Eighth Street in Southeast Washington. Plans for the Capitol Riverfront development will add more shops, restaurants and entertainment options to this Capitol Hill neighborhood.
In addition to the infill location along seven city blocks, the community meets “green” criteria since residents can rely less on their cars. The homes at Capitol Quarter will all be EnergyStar and Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, meaning they meet high standards for energy efficiency and the use of green building techniques.
The community includes a mix of market-rate homes, work-force homes and affordable rentals. The market-rate town homes are priced from $635,000 to the $700,000s. The homes have three finished levels with the option of adding a roof terrace and a deck, with hardwood floors on the main level, high ceilings, high-tech wiring, garage parking and ceramic tile baths. Call 202/484-0360 or visit www.eya.com.
Pulte Homes Inc. is building 209 three-story garage town homes at Dakota Crossing, located at 2621 Patricia Roberts Harris Place in the Fort Lincoln area of Northeast Washington. Dakota Crossing is directly in front of the Fort Lincoln Cultural and Community Center, which has a swimming pool and tennis courts.
Residents can enter the community from either New York Avenue or South Dakota Avenue. Downtown Washington and the Brookland and Rhode Island Avenue Metro stations are also accessible from Dakota Crossing.
The homes are base-priced from $429,900, with a quarterly homeowner association fee of $320. Each home has a brick front, a two-car garage and professional landscaping. Standard features in the town homes include tile floors in the kitchen and bathrooms, granite counters in the kitchen and bath, and appliances in a choice of three finishes (including stainless steel). The homes range in size from 1,965 to 2,286 finished square feet, with three bedrooms, 2.5 baths. Call 202/635-0199 or visit www.pulte.com.
At Emerson Park in Northeast Washington, K. Hovnanian Homes is building town homes priced from the mid-$300,000s, each with three levels and a one- or two-car garage. Emerson Park, near Emerson and 6th streets, off Ava Circle, offers residents a location within walking distance of the Fort Totten Metro station on the Red Line. Once on the Metro, residents can reach nearly any part of the District within minutes.
The town homes have a low-maintenance exterior of vinyl siding with a sodded lawn, concrete driveways and concrete stoops and front walks. Inside, each has hardwood floors in the foyer and half bath, 9-foot ceilings on the main level, crown and chair-rail moldings in the dining room, crown moldings in the living room and a security system. Some of the homes include a luxury master bath with a soaking tub and separate shower. Call 202/529-1209 or visit www.khov.com.
Reston Town Center provides a prime example of urban-style living in a suburban location. The thriving town center in Reston includes offices, a hotel, a central plaza that converts from an outdoor concert venue in summer to an ice-skating rink in winter; dozens of shops, art galleries, a movie theater, and restaurants and bars.