Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

If You Can't Afford A Car, You Can't Afford To Walk, Either

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The blog Citytank points out that the more walkable a neighborhood is, the more expensive it is to live there -- which is bad news for the poor, who are driven out to the suburbs, where they’re forced to buy cars to get around.

    There are many reasons suburbs make the experience of poverty worse, but first among them is that automobiles are really expensive. Purchasing, maintaining, repairing, insuring, and fueling a car can easily consume 50% or more of a limited income. For someone struggling to work themselves out of poverty, these expenses can wreck havoc on even the most diligent efforts to maintain a monthly budget. With gas now approaching or exceeding $4.00/gallon, a full day’s work at minimum wage sometimes won’t pay for a single tank of gas. The burdens of sprawl weigh heaviest on the poor.
    The only way to slow this process is to build enough housing to meet the demand, preferably near transit. Incumbent property owners who seek to limit development and additional housing in their neighborhoods are therefore also supporting the de-facto eviction of the poor from the city.  They are the “haves” excluding the “have-nots” once again.  Though their intentions are not evil, the consequences of their actions are. And opportunistic politicians who position themselves as populist defenders of “neighborhood character” must be defeated. We must intensify our efforts to build this city. It is a just cause.
    That’s definitely the case here. We looked at the average rents in Chicago’s Ten Most Walkable Neighborhoods, according to Walk Score. In some cases, they are twice as expensive as the city average of $768.
    1. Printers Row $1,567
    2. Near North Side $1,279
    3. Sheridan Park $810
    4. Old Town $1,029
    5. Dearborn Park $1,151
    6. Gold Coast $1,356
    7. River North $1,548
    8. Noble Square $839
    9. Lincoln Square $853
    10. Park West $1,265