Friends of Seattle Public Library Blog

The goings on of the Seattle Public Library.

Walkable libraries enhance our lives and our neighborhoods September 13, 2009

Have you taken our five minute survey on library value? One theme we’re hearing from respondents is we love to walk there. “I love being so close to a neighborhood library branch — we walk there 1-2 evenings/week and read stories with the kids and pick up our hold items,” replied Fremont patron Robyn Reed.

“One of the criteria for where we choose to live is if we can walk (or short drive) to a library,”  replied Sarah Hurt, a Douglass Truth patron. Douglass Truth has a walkscore  of 88. Its “very walkable” according to Walkscore.com.  More than 81% of our newly expanded library system is at least “very walkable.”  30% gets the highest  rating of  “walker’s paradise” and all of the buildings are at least “somewhat walkable.”

“Libraries drive the walkability scores of a neighborhood,” said real estate agent Adrian Willinger. “People are returning to traditional values and want their resources within walking distance. They want to walk to their neighborhood services,  i.e., dry cleaner, grocery store, library. More and more people are looking at walkability.” Incoming Lake City Chamber of Commerce President and Realtor, Peter Lukevich concurs, “At the present time the existence of a library is generally believed to be a good thing for real estate values. The library and easy access to other government services is valuable and enhances the value of real property.” [Lake City library walkscore 94]

“Having Greenwood branch library in walking distance creates a sense of community for everyone,” Sara, a student at the University of Washington, told us. “Three blocks one way — the grocery store. The other way — the library. Both are essential to a community’s well-being — food and knowledge. It’s a hub and a place to meet and a comforting addition to the neighborhood.” [Greenwood library walkscore 88]

In a July 2009 study, “Economic Value of Walkability,” from the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, some of the economic advantages of a walkable neighborhood are: reduced transportation costs, special support for some businesses- such as walking tourism, and increased neighborhood interaction and community cohesion. “When you have a gem like the Ballard branch library near the business core it draws people and keeps people in the area of commerce, ” said Christy McDanold of Secret Garden Bookshop. [Ballard library walkscore 97]

C. Atalex tells us, “I work from home, so biking to the library and grocery store is a nice way for me to get out of the house and spend a couple hours around people. If we did not have a local library that I could walk/bike to, I would probably go very seldom, so I am very grateful for the refurbished Cap Hill branch.” [Capitol Hill library walkscore 100]

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3 Responses to “Walkable libraries enhance our lives and our neighborhoods”

  1. Anne Gilbert Says:

    Unfortunately, in my neighborhood, there is no “walkable” library. Don’t ask me why. But the closest one is the Madrona branch. I could wal k to it if I wanted to huff and puff up a bunch of hills afor about two miles. Which I don’t. But other libraries in neighborhoods I’ve lived in, are eminently walkable. The Green Lake Library is especially so, and I loved it when I lived there.

  2. [...] provides foundation for all three of these achievements. According to Seattle Real Estate agent Adrian Willinger libraries drive the walkability of neighborhoods.  Walkability sustains our environment, draws business, and attracts skilled, intelligent people [...]

  3. [...] and user friendly modern design. Libraries contribute to the quality of our lives and they anchor our neighborhoods. Congratulations to the Beacon Hill branch library for its role in bringing national recognition to [...]


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