Building a Walkable Community: Millennials
"Millenials" - the group of people ages 18-34 make up about 80 million Americans. Known for their love of technology, this group of adults has gained attention as cities evolve and plan for the future. Several polls, including one recently conducted by the National Association of Realtors and the Transportation Research and Education Center at Portland State University* finds that millenials prefer walking over driving by a substantially wider margin than any other generation. The poll also found that millenials prefer living in attached housing, living within walking distance of restaurants and they like to have a short commute. Expanded public transportation options such as trains, buses and walking and biking are all alternatives to driving that are desirable to this age group.
Why do cities such as Coon Rapids care about this trend? As our city redevelops and plans for the future, we need to keep an eye on the next generation of potential residents as well as pay attention to the needs of those who are already living here. If the next generation of potential residents is showing a desire for a “walkable” community – an area where people can live, work and walk to shopping and restaurants all nearby – then city officials need to pay attention. Without understanding the desires and needs of future generations, cities could lose out on providing well-rounded living options for prospective residents to enjoy.
The City of Coon Rapids continues to look at options that allow for “walkability” as part of its master planning. With the assistance of a voter approved Park Bond passed in 2013, the City is focusing on its trail system, with the first goal of building out the regional trail system, which can get you to most areas of the city. Once the regional trails are completed, the focus will then shift to constructing connections to and from these regional trails into neighborhoods, parks, schools, government facilities and business areas. More trails, sidewalks and connections will mean more transportation options for everyone to enjoy. Whether you want to walk from your home to a neighborhood restaurant or park, it will get easier and easier as this trail system is built out in the coming years. The City looks to incorporate sidewalk and trail improvements/connections with every opportunity, whether it is a park project, street reconstruction project or new development. The City believes these enhancements, along with well-designed housing projects and expanded transportation opportunities will continue to position Coon Rapids to be a sought-after community, one that appeals to all generations.*Results were released July 28, 2015 by the National Association of Realtors and the Transportation Research and Education Center at Portland State University.