Lisa Ulfvengren and Jennifer Lundgren from Redfern walking along Hay Street in Haymarket.
SYDNEY’S outer areas are becoming increasingly navigable by foot thanks to improving infrastructure and a shift to higher density living.
A ranking of Sydney’s most “walkable” suburbs revealed many areas located more than 30km from the CBD offered a level of convenience on par with inner-city areas that have been traditionally viewed as better connected.
The research from WalkScore.com showed Central Coast enclave The Entrance was the most walkable suburb within the outer confines of Greater Sydney, with residents able to accomplish “most errands” without ever needing to set foot in a car.
This was due to the suburb’s high concentration of restaurants, cafes, retail and lifestyle amenities such as beaches and parks.
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Apartment at 23/46-50 Dening St, overlooking The Entrance.
Liverpool in southwestern Sydney, where developers have released a stream of new housing often together with retail, offered a similar level of convenience for walkers and was the most walkable outer suburb within Sydney’s traditional boundaries.
Both suburbs were considered as “walkable” as popular inner west suburbs such as Marrickville and Drummoyne or eastern suburbs Coogee and Bondi — despite being considerably further from the Sydney CBD.
Other easily walkable areas more than 30km from the Sydney CBD included western suburbs Cabramatta and Mount Druitt, and Central Coast suburbs Gosford, Ettalong Beach and Lake Haven.
Social researcher Mark McCrindle said walking was becoming a more viable way to get around in many areas because developers were releasing more amenities in new housing estates. This shift was being guided by buyers’ demand for a more convenient lifestyle.
Leena Mathew her daughter Lyla at a park in Drummoyne.
“Walkability is a big lifestyle factor. Apart from the time saving and simplicity, there is the added benefits of exercise, along with a tighter-knit community … developers are creating villages to cater to that need,” Mr McCrindle said.
Realestate.com.au chief economist Nerida Conisbee said more home seekers were deciding they didn’t want to be reliant on a car.
“Retail is one of the top three characteristics of a suburb that engaged online property seekers,” she said. “In fact, any area that has been well-designed for walkers seems to be popular … and when improvements are made like a shopping centre expansion or new cafe within walking distance, suburbs become even more popular.” she said.
One of many examples of homes introduced to cater for buyers’ desire for greater convenience included the $300-million project V by Crown Group. Located less than 300m from the centre of Parramatta, it includes a pool, gym, sauna, conference facilities, music room, theatrette, a library and a level-26 bar with views to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
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Real estate agent Aimee Lamont from George Brand-The Entrance said that she wasn’t surprised the suburb was highlighted as “walkable’’.
“I’m a big walker too, and there is so much here,” she said.
“You’ve got a bike track along the lake on one side and the beach on the other. There are parks with grassy areas, barbecues and amenities at all the nearby beaches. Everything is within reach.”
Agent Craig Fisher from Raine and Horne-Toowoon Bay said that the layout of The Entrance would have impacted its walkability rating.
“You’ve got all the more permanent-type shops like Coles at the top end of town on Dening St, and down closer to the water are more of the touristy shops,” he said. “Everything is connected by boardwalk, with some great cafes and restaurants.”