Crystal City, Virginia
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Crystal City, Virginia
Credit: Crystal City BID

Amazon may choose walkability for HQ2

We all know traffic’s a nightmare around Amazon’s Seattle headquarters.

But that might not be as much of a problem in Northern Virginia, one of the rumored favorites in the quest to become Amazon’s second (or third) headquarters location.

Ed Walter is CEO of the Urban Land Institute, a non-profit research organization in Washington, D.C. He said Crystal City, Virginia is a dense cluster of buildings surrounding a subway stop and a good bus line. It’s what planners call "transit oriented development."

“Nobody was coining that phrase when Crystal City was first imagined and built – but that is what Crystal City became," he said.

The result is that it’s easy to live or work in Crystal City without a car.

North Seattle traffic headed for downtown in the fall of 2018.
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North Seattle traffic headed for downtown in the fall of 2018.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

"One of the trends that we have seen with Gen-X, but more with Millennials, has been a desire to be in cities and to be less reliant on the car than the baby boomer generation was," Walter said.

Walter said planning beyond cars is not only a way to reduce future congestion, it's a way to attract a younger workforce.

Seattle officials have been trying to get people out of cars and onto transit.

Amazon appears to be thinking the same way.