The decision where to reside, or rather where one calls home is one of the most important decisions a family makes. It significantly impacts their happiness, comfort, and to some extent even their health. The selection of a home should go well beyond financial considerations. It should include questions of convenience to schools, shopping and work. It should include apartment size, comfort, and amenities. It should also include the reputation of the owner and building staff.
Location: Is it Important or Isn’t it?
After financial consideration, location should be given the very next priority with regards to the selection of a residence. Typical primary travel destinations are work, school, shopping, and visits to family and friends. Not to be overlooked is travel to houses of worship, recreation, entertainment, and cultural centers. It is important to consider the relationship of the apartment to the above destinations from the perspective of distance, time and cost of travel. Consideration should also be given to the walkability of an apartment building location.
Walkability is a term often used today by architects. It refers to the renewed emphasis and focus on more interactive neighborhoods. If the destinations are beyond walking distance, then you will need a method to compare and evaluate two or more locations. The task is fairly easy. First, you must determine the geographic relationship of the proposed apartment to your personal everyday commute and other less frequent but important destinations. Every apartment hunter needs to know the answer to this basic travel question: Does the apartment location being considered have good access to primary/major roads and public transportation (trains and perhaps bus routes)?
Easy Access to Downtown
Living in the suburbs has its benefits, but living in the city generally allows for a greater selection of shopping and educational opportunities. Cities are also where an overwhelming majority of the national and regional cultural (museums of art, history and science) and entertainment centers (such as ballparks, and theaters) are to be found. The advantages of downtown are reversed with regards to access to recreation facilities and parks. Areas of cities outside of their downtown, as well as, most suburban municipalities have considerably more parks and sport specific recreational ball fields. With the advent of GPS, it is a relatively simple task to develop a proposed route and travel time to your desired destination. Google (and other sites) allow you to not only consider driving time, but travel time via any combination of driving, train and walking routes. Even if you are somewhat familiar with an area, the use of such a tool will quickly provide answers that allow you to compare one location to another. If you commute to work or school on a regular basis, the cost and time of travel is of primary consideration.
Transit Oriented Development
Many more people are choosing to live near transit hubs because of these very reasons. In fact, an industry acronym for such a property has been coined “TOD” or Transit Oriented Development. In addition to saving time and money, transportation modes such as the train reduces stress and affords the traveler the ability to rest or to take advantage of travel time for productive purposes such as work or study. If one makes exclusive use of an automobile for their primary mode of transportation, then one should consider the best route to and from the proposed home and the destination point during peak and off peak traffic hours. Winter time travel should also be considered. How far and over what type of roads does one need to travel will directly influence travel time in the winter. Primary roads such as US-1, I-95, and the Turnpike are the first roads to be cleared in the winter time. Depending on the snow event secondary roads may not be attended to for as much as one, two or more days after a major event.