U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 01-11-2012, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Chicago
1,312 posts, read 1,433,794 times
Reputation: 1484

Advertisements

I think there are some misconceptions about walkability and public transportation that should be addressed and... Hey! Wouldn't you know it? This is the thread to do just that!

Have you ever looked at Get Your Walk Score - A Walkability Score For Any Address? It's interesting, and it certainly gives an idea as to how much or little a particular address/location is walkable, but I wouldn't take it as the Gospel. It said an old address I lived at was just a notch or two below where I currently live and I find that to be laughable at best.

So, with that in mind, living in a walkable neighborhood/city DOES NOT MEAN that automobiles are forbidden/demolished/unusable. It means you can get to stuff by... well... walking. No one is making anyone give up their cars to live in a walkable place (If there are posts/posters suggesting such a thing, they should be roundly ignored). Might it be harder to own and maintain a car in a very "walkable" area? Quite possibly.

But then again, is it harder to walk and bicycle in a place that is not walkable? Quite possibly.

It also seems like some people think a 5, 10, 15 minute walk to someplace you use on a frequent basis is a bad thing. Then a counterpoint might be offered along the lines of, "Well, I can get to anywhere I want in 15 minutes with my car."

A "Walkable" 15 minute trip scales very favorably for someone using a car to get to the same destination.

For example a 15 minute walk to the grocery store could be a 5-10 minute bike ride, or just 5 minutes in the car.

A 5 minute walk to a corner store could be done in maybe 2 minutes on a bicycle, or 1 minute in a car.

On the other hand, if it takes a person 15 minutes to drive to the grocery store (Interstates), it could very well take some 30-90 minutes to get to the same store by bicycling, and someone walking could be doing that for 1-3 hours.

A quick 5 minute drive could be 10-15 on a bicycle, or possibly even a 15-30 minute walk.

So being in a walkable place means people driving are spending (usually) a significant amount of time less getting to their destination.

Being in a completely driving orientated place means everyone is taking longer to get where they're going.



And another thing I hear about when talking about the negatives of public transportation is the waiting. And then I wonder if the people who are complaining about having to wait have ever heard of "technology" before...

Does your cell phone have the internet? Do you have the internet at your house? At your work? Then why are you waiting on Public Transportation???

I know in Chicago at least, the CTA has transit trackers so you can check to see how long it will be until your mode of transit arrives. Are there delays with Public Transportation? Of course! But because of the wonderful world of technology we currently live in, those delays, cancellations, route/service changes are known in REAL TIME. It's not like you have to stand out by the bus stop for 90 minutes to know the particular route you take has been stopped/diverted/limited. All it takes is 90 seconds of Internet time to save you that 90 minutes.

And then I could imagine a counter argument being something like, "Yeah, but still! The car is quicker because I can go whenever and not have to worry about bus delays, or stuff like that."

True you CAN go whenever, but DO you?

Is there a certain time you're out the door for work if you want to be there on time? If you miss that time frame to leave, are you going to sit in traffic for an extra 10, 20, 30+ minutes? Whether or not it is realized, people still "have to" be somewhere/someplace at a certain time to be at their destination on time... even if the mode of transportation is a personal vehicle.




Those are my thoughts on things I have heard and read from various places, what are yours?

Last edited by Bo; 01-15-2012 at 10:38 AM.. Reason: moved from General US
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 01-11-2012, 09:59 AM
 
Location: Brooklyn, New York
2,697 posts, read 3,018,335 times
Reputation: 2128
Quote:
Originally Posted by A2DAC1985 View Post
A 5 minute walk to a corner store could be done in maybe 2 minutes on a bicycle, or 1 minute in a car.
Not true, your car trips wouldn't scale like that. Parking alone would be a major issue at these distances.

If we are both living in the same building in Manhattan (an undeniably walkable area) and you take a car to a corner store, I bet I could get faster to Philadelphia on a train than the time you'd spend on your little shopping trip.

Also, in this case, your parking spot would actually be further away compared to the place you began your journey from.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-11-2012, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Where Else...?
740 posts, read 915,162 times
Reputation: 643
yeah, but if you need to stock up on groceries for instance, you're not going to want to walk with multiple bags in your hand. A car would be necessary, even if it takes 5 mins on foot....
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-11-2012, 10:27 AM
 
Location: The City
21,411 posts, read 28,451,612 times
Reputation: 7054
Quote:
Originally Posted by Queen Palm View Post
yeah, but if you need to stock up on groceries for instance, you're not going to want to walk with multiple bags in your hand. A car would be necessary, even if it takes 5 mins on foot....

Actually disagree. I know where I live I either make a stop for a few items (easy to carry) or have them delivered (when larger purchases) for free. It works quite well.

Like all locations people adapt to what is available and works best. Also I have a car but never use it locally; everything (well 95%) I need is within a 5 minute walk. If I need a bigger item (say a TV or something) I can use my car and double park to unload or have it delivered. Honestly it has never been an issue and I spent half my youth in car crazy burbs. Cars are not needed in areas that are walkable; I actually find this liberating
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-11-2012, 10:33 AM
 
Location: New York NY
3,855 posts, read 5,262,367 times
Reputation: 7792
Quote:
Originally Posted by Queen Palm View Post
yeah, but if you need to stock up on groceries for instance, you're not going to want to walk with multiple bags in your hand. A car would be necessary, even if it takes 5 mins on foot....
In many many cities the alternative to driving isn't walking, biking, or public transportation, It's DELIVERY. Nice thing about Manhattan is that you can get almost anything you want delivered to your place, from prescription drugs to groceries to dry cleaning, and that's an option that I don't thinks exists to the same degree outside of crowded cities. The catch, of course, is that in big cities getting deliveries is harder, or even non-existant, in poor neighborhoods because of the fear of crime.

As usual it all boils down to money. If you have enough you'll live in a city nabe where stuff is brought to your door or have a car to go get it. If you don't have the money, things will be tougher no matter where you live.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-11-2012, 10:36 AM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
10,089 posts, read 11,633,488 times
Reputation: 3896
Quote:
Originally Posted by A2DAC1985 View Post
For example a 15 minute walk to the grocery store could be a 5-10 minute bike ride, or just 5 minutes in the car.
I agree with Gantz, the nearest Trader Joe's is a 15 minute walk. If I was to drive I would have to go downstairs, pull the car out, wait for the gate to open, drive the 3-4 minutes (depends on traffic lights and how congested Hollywood Blvd is) then pull into the underground lot, find a spot and then get upstairs to the Trader Joe's. That would end up taking 15 minutes anyways. Not to mention I would have to get my parking validated or -gasp- pay for parking. Then pull out the car from that lot and reverse the cycle.

Overall it is probably 35 minutes to walk there and back, and say, 25 minutes to drive there and back. I like the free exercise of walking and getting to interact with my surroundings as I walk there.

And yes, me and my wife are willing to walk 15 minutes with 6 bags in each of our hands. We usually bring our own bags which are way sturdier and can carry more items. Like I said, free exercise.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-11-2012, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Where Else...?
740 posts, read 915,162 times
Reputation: 643
Quote:
Originally Posted by kidphilly View Post
Actually disagree. I know where I live I either make a stop for a few items (easy to carry) or have them delivered (when larger purchases) for free. It works quite well.

Like all locations people adapt to what is available and works best. Also I have a car but never use it locally; everything (well 95%) I need is within a 5 minute walk. If I need a bigger item (say a TV or something) I can use my car and double park to unload or have it delivered. Honestly it has never been an issue and I spent half my youth in car crazy burbs. Cars are not needed in areas that are walkable; I actually find this liberating
I don't totally disagree, but somewhat, only because every city's walkable characteristics is different. I've been in both the city and the burbs. Walkability is a great thing, don't get me wrong. However, there were times, (not always) that it did not benefit me when I needed to get multiple items or needed to stock up.

I've lived in urban areas where the grocery store and a 'big box' retail store was in a reasonable walking distance. However, many times it was better that I drive, simply because of the needs of stocking up and/or needing to transport certain items by car.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-11-2012, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
10,089 posts, read 11,633,488 times
Reputation: 3896
Quote:
Originally Posted by Queen Palm View Post
I've lived in urban areas where the grocery store and a 'big box' retail store was in a reasonable walking distance. However, many times it was better that I drive, simply because of the needs of stocking up and/or needing to transport certain items by car.
When my wife and I go to the Target down the street, we usually do drive.

However, in Boston when we lived in Brighton we used to walk to Watertown (~3 miles away) to the Target and lugged our stuff home (this is also through a not very walkable part of the city, across a turnpike). We didn't really have much of a choice, though I wish I could have signed up for Zip Car
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-11-2012, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Where Else...?
740 posts, read 915,162 times
Reputation: 643
Quote:
Originally Posted by munchitup View Post
When my wife and I go to the Target down the street, we usually do drive.

However, in Boston when we lived in Brighton we used to walk to Watertown (~3 miles away) to the Target and lugged our stuff home (this is also through a not very walkable part of the city, across a turnpike). We didn't really have much of a choice, though I wish I could have signed up for Zip Car
Yeah, and you know that you've got to get things done, if it means walking. Public transportation is another option as well.

I've not heard of Zip Cars (looking it up). Kind of like a car rental thing, huh? They're not available in every city, though I'm sure that'll probably change in the near future.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-11-2012, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Seattle
1,430 posts, read 1,737,531 times
Reputation: 2419
Quote:
yeah, but if you need to stock up on groceries for instance, you're not going to want to walk with multiple bags in your hand. A car would be necessary, even if it takes 5 mins on foot....
I live in an uber walkable neighborhood and I find that this pretty much doesn't happen. I live so freakkin' close to the grocery store (3 blocks) that I have not found myself needing to 'stock up' - essentially in a neighborhood that walkable, the grocery store *is* your pantry. I generally only buy food for a few days unless there's a good sale on something. If I did find myself needing to buy 8 bags of groceries or something - I'd probably just call a cab.

One thing I have found is that just because you can walk to things doesn't mean a neighborhood has a vibrant pedestrian population. I have been in neighborhoods where people probably should have considered their cars but preferred to walk and neighborhoods where everyone drove regardless of how close things were. I found availability of parking and how commercially/residentially mixed the area were to be the main factors. In areas where there is a large amount of mixed use - people were more likely to be walkers, but in areas where the zoning kept the two distinctly seperate - people drove, even if they lived closer to stores than people in mixed-use areas.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2017, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 - Top