At a recent commission meeting, a resident in our community referred to me as “living in the world of the Jetsons” because I expressed a desire for our city to focus on other modes of transportation in addition to cars.
As an elder member of our community, his perception of cars as the only transportation option is not unusual. Around half of all car owners in the U.S. are over the age of 60 years old according to Statista Research Department’s October 2020 report. On the other hand, younger generations are increasingly opting out of automobile ownership, especially in cities that are pedestrian and mass transit-friendly.
This past weekend, I met a 20-something who recently relocated from New York City to South Beach. His story is a case study on his generations’ attitude about getting around. He chose South Beach over Wilton Manors because he thought it would be a more walkable community. I’m happy to share that he will be moving up to Wilton Manors, sans car, as he has recognized that our great city is more pedestrian-friendly and offers a better quality of life for a young, single male than South Beach! In Wilton Manors, you can enjoy life without a car.
Our city has a Walk Score of 74, putting it in the highly sought-after Very Walkable class. For comparison, NYC which is ranked #1 has a walk score of just 88. Having a walkable city isn’t just good for residents who prefer to ditch the auto addiction, it’s great for property values too.
According to an analysis by Redfin, every point increase in a property’s walkability score is associated with a $3,000 increase in property value. (You can get your home’s score at WalkScore.com.)
Focusing on improving our city for residents who prefer to walk, scooter or bicycle to their destination makes sense. With over 60% of all trips in the U.S. being less than 5 miles, getting around by bicycle or scooter is a great way to reduce the impact of automobiles on our small city and our environment. I can also share, from personal experience, taking a scooter or bike to just about any destination in Wilton Manors is faster than driving and finding a parking spot!
Plus, with the abundance of bike racks we have in our city, you’re almost guaranteed a spot close to your destination to secure your bike or scooter. (You can view a map of bike racks at https://bit.ly/WMBikeRacks.)
I look forward to turning in my current car when the lease is over. My partner and I will get by just fine with one car, a bike, a scooter, and our own two feet! I hope you’ll consider joining me in improving your health, reducing the impact of automobiles on traffic and the environment, and enjoy some fresh air by foregoing your car next time to head to the drive. May is National Bike Month after all!
- Chris Caputo, Wilton Manors City Commissioner