Beyond its more apparent attractions, RiverPark Place offers residents a walk in the park.
“I think this is one of the best places in the Midwest to live,” developer Steve Poe told those attending one of its recent meetups. “People want to live in a park or on the water. This is a park on the water.”
It’s also one of Louisville’s most walkable neighborhoods. With plans for a botanical gardennearby, the options for walking will only increase. And improved access by foot to the restaurants and shops of Frankfort Avenue from the waterfront remains on the city’s agenda, Poe said.
The health benefits of walking have been well-documented, but research from the University of Kansas linked walking not only with health benefits such as lower body mass and blood pressure, but also decreased cognitive decline as we age.
John Gilderbloom, director of the University of Louisville’s Center for Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods, also has published research linking neighborhood walkability with increased home values, less crime, fewer foreclosures and even longevity.
“Even during the economic downturn, housing values in The Highlands were not really affected because people value walkability,” Gilderbloom said.
“Walkable neighborhoods translate into more ‘eyes on the street,’ which lead to less crime. Demand is shifting from unwalkable suburbs to neighborhoods with characteristics such as safety, walkability, gentrification, environmental ethos, mixed uses and the proximity to jobs and school,” his paper states. “Relocating to a sustainable neighborhood means a better return on the initial investment, the option of being less dependent on automobiles, and the opportunity to live in denser neighborhoods with greater diversity.”
The website walkscore.com rates the RiverPark Place area as the eighth most walkable area in the metro area, outdone by Old Louisville, The Highlands and similar areas.
“Walk scores aren’t really on the radar here,” Gilderbloom says, but more attention to walkability will help revitalize neighborhoods.
So, with brains in your head and feet in your shoes (apologies to Dr. Suess), here are some of the destinations you could choose (via Google Maps):
- Slugger Field for a Bats game – 1.5 miles. (That was too obvious, but you can catch thetrolley there and go to 4th Street Live or even the downtown library. The trollies, by the way, are to be replaced with electric buses.)
- Skateboard at Louisville Extreme Park – 1.3 miles
- For a concert or to eat at the Chow Wagons during Thunder – 1.3 miles (For Thunder, watch from your balcony!)
- Dinner at one of the NuLu restaurants – 1.5 miles
- To appease a sweet tooth – 1.5 miles
- Ride the Belle of Louisville – 1.7 miles
- Yum Center for a Cards game—1.8 miles. Fleetwood Mac, Nickelback and Maroon 5 concerts are slated for the coming months.
- Frazier Museum, Kentucky Science Center, Louisville Slugger Museum —2.2 miles
- At 2 miles across, The Big Four Bridge opens up a whole ’nother range of walking options for frozen yogurt, craft breweries, restaurants and handmade candy.
While a grocery store isn’t too far away – the closest is the Crescent Hill Kroger – you’ll need a car for that. However, a planned Omni Hotel development that would include an upscale grocery store downtown reportedly is “on track.” That would put a grocery store roughly 2.2 miles away on more walkable streets.