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Jacksonville Renters Want More Pedestrian-Friendly Neighborhoods


A recent survey of more than 100,000 apartment dwellers around the country finds younger renters value pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods when looking for a place to live.

But walkability is not one of Jacksonville’s strong suits.

Every couple of years the National Multifamily Housing Council and Kingsley Associates poll American renters on behalf of apartment operators to find out what people look for in an apartment complex.

The council’s Rick Houghey says although the housing market is recovering from the crash of 2008, many millennials are still opting for renting — and they’re more demanding.

Houghey says this generation of renters wants more facilities like gyms, pools and the ability to safely walk around their neighborhood.

“At the neighborhood level, what we found was they’re looking for walkability, and specifically they want to be close to a grocery store,” Houghey said. “That came through in just about every area as the number one location they’d like to walk to.” Houghey says respondents also say they want restaurants, bars and public transportation within walking distance.

Unfortunately for Jacksonville, the city scores poorly when it comes to pedestrian friendliness. The website ranks the city near the bottom, with only the Downtown, San Marco and Riverside neighborhoods scoring well.

Haughey says cities ignore this data at their own peril, noting that he believes the survey is less a passing fad and more of a long term trend.