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Old 12-02-2012, 08:50 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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I was just thinking about this as I was reviewing a thread about some planned development. Some people though the development was OK in the location because "there's a bus." But I realize, when you mostly you drive, you don't quite understand the logistics.

When a friend who doesn't drive was looking for a place to live in my area, I pointed her to a few resources (and neighborhoods) based on a couple of things:
1. access to trunk transit lines that run every day of the week, at least every 15 minutes, all day (6-midnight roughly at least)
2. places with decent foot traffic in the surrounding streets
3. areas with well lit streets
4. areas with a fully resourced commercial corridor
5. Relatively safe areas

I can recall, at the time she was looking, people recommended other areas, some of them because "they have a bus stop" or other places that are marginally safe. You know the places you may be OK walking from your secure garage to your door, but not the surrounding streets. Or areas well served by commuter buses, but not much else.

I think when you drive, you can take the safety of the streets for granted. And you don't need to think about the frequency of bus service or the number of bus lines.

So what do you think, can a person who drives as their primary transit node, understand what makes for "good transit access?"
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Old 12-02-2012, 08:59 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 20 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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In answer to your question, "certainly". I in fact have tried to point out this safety in walking to transit issue, which the primarily male posters on this forum tend to dismiss.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:07 PM
 
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Understanding transit access is unusual for anyone, because it's complex and changeable anywhere there's comprehensive transit, and bus routes are quite opaque. You can see a road; you can see a train line; you can't see a bus route.

As for safety, I'm a little tired of hearing about it. Granted, I'm a middle aged man with no major infirmities, and so not one of your better targets. But from the way people in the NJ forum talk about it, they're expecting to get jumped in broad daylight walking to a bus stop in an area of town that happens to have smaller houses than the rest. (or a K-mart)

It's also true that people don't understand driving, apparently. If that wasn't so, there wouldn't be so many people who think it's a good idea to commute from the Pottstown (or even Reading) areas to Philadelphia... just a straight shot down 422 and the Surekill Distressway, right?
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:15 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 20 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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^^Men most definitely do not have the same concerns with safety as women do. I've seen that even with my own husband, who was raised in a family of three boys. He's way more concerned about the safety of his possessions, e.g. about getting robbed when we're not home, than personal safety.

I have been a public health nurse in a couple of major cities, and a small city with an alarmingly high crime rate. I am not afraid of much. However, I would be very concerned about having to walk to/from transit in the dark, when not a lot of people are out. In fact, in many neighborhoods, one might be the ONLY person out and about in the dark, and that includes in the much vaunted "city" neighborhoods. I would also be concerned about having to wait for transit in the dark. In most northern cities, one is coming and/or going home from work in the dark for part of the year. If one wants to go out after dark, especially in the later hours of the evening, it's a dicey proposition.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:25 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
^^Men most definitely do not have the same concerns with safety as women do.
It's partly men tend to worry less about things, justifiably or unjustifiably rather than just men are in greater danger.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
However, I would be very concerned about having to walk to/from transit in the dark, when not a lot of people are out. In fact, in many neighborhoods, one might be the ONLY person out and about in the dark, and that includes in the much vaunted "city" neighborhoods. I would also be concerned about having to wait for transit in the dark. In most northern cities, one is coming and/or going home from work in the dark for part of the year. If one wants to go out after dark, especially in the later hours of the evening, it's a dicey proposition.

In the evening (5-9 pm)? Those times are often busier than earlier in the day, whether it's nighttime or daytime. Some areas are just very safe, not much happens there. I'd be really surprised if anyone is uncomfortable walking at night where I live.

I used to live walking at night by myself, although they were more walking in the woods than in a city.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:31 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 20 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
It's partly men tend to worry less about things, justifiably or unjustifiably rather than just men are in greater danger.




In the evening (5-9 pm)? Those times are often busier than earlier in the day, whether it's nighttime or daytime. Some areas are just very safe, not much happens there. I'd be really surprised if anyone is uncomfortable walking at night where I live.

I used to live walking at night by myself, although they were more walking in the woods than in a city.
I don't think men are in greater danger; they're generally bigger than women and tend to know a little more about how to fight, physically, if they are attacked.

5-6, maybe 6:30 might be busy, but I'd be willing to bet the farm that after that it's pretty quiet, especially in the fall/winter when it's dark outside. I think you should take a poll of the women in your neighborhood, and find out if they really do walk alone after that and do they feel safe. The answers may surprise you.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:42 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
5-6, maybe 6:30 might be busy, but I'd be willing to bet the farm that after that it's pretty quiet, especially in the fall/winter when it's dark outside.
I guess it depends where; I've always felt people being out doesn't decline until at least 9 pm.

Quote:
I think you should take a poll of the women in your neighborhood, and find out if they really do walk alone after that and do they feel safe. The answers may surprise you.
Judging my area, I'd feel like I'm asking a stupid question. I could make a note of how many people are walking alone at night and their gender. My female housemate said she felt walking at night when she lived in Boston, I assume she must here as well. We don't look our doors here...

Last edited by nei; 12-02-2012 at 10:31 PM.. Reason: fixed miswrite
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:11 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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I've never really worried about safety either. I haven't really lived in any higher risk places though, mostly a college town and middle and upper-middle class suburbs, with the occasional trip to downtown Toronto - which is pretty busy and well lit at night, not to mention Canada is generally safer than the US. I'm also a young male, so not a likely target. Most women don't seem too concerned with safety around here either, I've seen them walk in poorly lit ravines in the dark (though not too often), and certainly they don't seem deterred from walking around campus and side streets.

I could see it being a concern in other places though. Another factor would probably be a neighbourhood watch culture, in dangerous neighbourhoods, there's a greater likelihood that someone won't report if they hear or see someone in danger, whereas in a typical middle class neighbourhood here, it's almost certain they'd call 911.

Regarding not seeing a bus route, that depends on how a transit system is set up. The Toronto area is set up pretty well, in that the major routes follow straight arterials for most of their length and after which they're named. In my college town, it's still pretty good, although you have to know which routes leave the road they're named to go to the university.
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:31 PM
 
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I think that what non-riders don't understand is the importance of frequency. They'll look at the map or at the existence of a bus stop and assume that's enough. But if the line only runs once an hour it's pretty well useless. It's hard to explain this to people who only drive, who can go when they want. One version of explaining it is "Suppose there were a gate across your driveway and it only opened once every 30 minutes ... "
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,331,720 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I don't think men are in greater danger; they're generally bigger than women and tend to know a little more about how to fight, physically, if they are attacked.

5-6, maybe 6:30 might be busy, but I'd be willing to bet the farm that after that it's pretty quiet, especially in the fall/winter when it's dark outside. I think you should take a poll of the women in your neighborhood, and find out if they really do walk alone after that and do they feel safe. The answers may surprise you.
Do you think that's the case in Boston, Chicago, etc? It depends on the area of the city and the city itself (e.g. is there mixed-use development with adequate residential?). In a lot of less dense cities in the CBD this may be the case, but certainly not an across-the-board rule. That's also only a view of commuting on transit to/from work. Another huge chunk of scenarios for transit users exists for leisure, running errands, etc. Within actual neighborhoods, I wouldn't expect people to feel unsafe at 9pm where there's adequate foot traffic, even women.
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