A complete neighborhood is one in which all of the basic amenities needed for daily life are within a comfortable walk. People who live in a complete neighborhood can simply walk to the grocery store, the bank, the doctor, the park, or out for dinner. This used to be more common, and it’s become less and less common as time goes on. When we finish downtown and master-plan Canyon Park as complete neighborhoods, we can help some of the most pressing issues Bothell faces.
This is the top issue I hear not only about from my neighbors in Bothell, but from residents and leaders in our neighboring cities as well. I’m including transportation in the housing affordability discussion because transportation and housing are inexorably linked. Wherever you live, you have to get both to work and to the places you can satisfy your basic needs. Talking about one without the other is only discussing a part of the problem.
We should build complete neighborhoods in downtown and Canyon Park specifically because the coming 522/405 Bus Rapid Transit lines can take us to our region’s most popular job centers in 2024. It’s entirely realistic that a family would only need one vehicle instead of two for convenience on the weekend if they can get to work via BRT and handle their basic needs on foot. Per AAA, the average vehicle costs $8849 each year to own and operate. That’s roughly the same cost as borrowing $135,000 for a mortgage at a 5% interest rate. If we give people other realistic options than to get in their car, we can do something quite tangible to help them be able to afford to live here.
The more we move ourselves rather than be moved, the healthier we are. Studies show a correlation between walkability and reduced BMI. They also suggest that children in walkable neighborhoods are more active.
When we walk instead of take a vehicle, we don’t burn any fossil fuels to get where we’re going. In a state where 42% of greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector, this is something real we can do to help the environment as well.
Not only do complete neighborhoods benefit people who live in them, they benefit those of us who live in the surrounding suburbs. If you drive to a complete neighborhood, you only have to park once to run your errands. Additionally, the person who lives there that walked to the grocery store wasn’t extra traffic on your way. They don’t need a parking spot.