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Old 09-16-2015, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
The quote had nothing to do with walkable communities
Nope, not really. Unless you think 70 percent of Americans live in walkable communities. I'd actually put that at 100% as I could always walk wherever I've lived. Not that having sidewalks really makes some place any more "walkable," depending what you mean by that. I mean, what do you mean. Do you mean you can get around and do stuff because you're close enough? Basically everywhere incorporated and many unincorporated areas here all have sidewalks. I'd say less than 20% of them are walkable. Basically, it's the second definition of walkable as in it's not hostile to walk there. You're not walking along a narrow road with no shoulder and 50 mile-an-hour traffic. Some completely unwalkable areas are actually very nice to walk in. My neighborhood is okay. Quiet streets, sidewalks... I usually just head up on the levee though. You obviously can't walk to anything, but if you just want to get out and enjoy a walk and let the dogs run around it's great. It's either superbly walkable (great place to walk, no vehicle traffic at all) or completely unwalkable depending on what you're talking about.
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Old 09-16-2015, 02:49 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Nope, not really. Unless you think 70 percent of Americans live in walkable communities. I'd actually put that at 100% as I could always walk wherever I've lived. Not that having sidewalks really makes some place any more "walkable," depending what you mean by that. I mean, what do you mean. Do you mean you can get around and do stuff because you're close enough? Basically everywhere incorporated and many unincorporated areas here all have sidewalks. I'd say less than 20% of them are walkable.
Well not having sidewalks can make a place clearly unwalkable. His quote specifically said "walkability", perhaps by a very broad definition, but it's there. I assume the surgeon general meant more the second definiton; but I didn't read the full speech.

I've seen a few busy sidewalkless roads that get enough pedestrians that you can see a dirt path where people have been walking. One situation was the sidewalk was only on one side of the road. Or stranger, ended at one side and then switched to the other mid block.
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Old 09-16-2015, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,060 posts, read 16,066,811 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Well not having sidewalks can make a place clearly unwalkable. His quote specifically said "walkability", perhaps by a very broad definition, but it's there. I assume the surgeon general meant more the second definiton; but I didn't read the full speech.
Not in my experience, just depends on the place. But usually the type of place where a sidewalk is actually required to be walkable it juts makes it possible. I'd still rather walk on the type of roads where a sidewalk really is totally unnecessary. We've got all these crazy old ladies who are always out walking in my neighborhood every morning. They don't even use the sidewalks even though they're there, so apparently 60-70-year-old women think the same way I do. You could take the sidewalks out here and really have no impact on the walk-ability (as in it's not hostile to walk). On the other hand, there's an arterial road that crosses on irrigation channel where I live that doesn't have a sidewalk. Traffic is going along at posted 55, generally more like 60-70) across the narrow bridges around a corner. Just on the other side of that bridge it enters city limits and there's a sidewalk. That's not an enjoyable place to walk. I generally wait for an opening and hustle. But if you move like my 83-year-old grandmother that's probably just not somewhere you can go. It's still not that fun to walk there even with the sidewalk. I mean, any protection is purely psychological. A shoulder would do just as good unless you're my 83-year-old grand mother where walking on a shoulder then becomes it's own issue as it's not a level surface.. Any car going the 55 mph limit is going to hop the curb and kill you sidewalk or no sidewalk. Sidewalk, no sidewalk. It makes no difference to me even there, really. I could see how it would for someone who was less physically able though.
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Old 09-16-2015, 03:08 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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This was the road I was thinking of:

https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7806...7i13312!8i6656

The sidewalkless side is rather narrow, though the difference is the amount of path cleared more than just having a sidewalk. Also potentially muddy. It's neither a convenient nor pleasant road to walk on, but obviously some people are walking on it since the dirt path exists. Nearby hospital may be the trip generator. This is nearly unwalkable, again there's a dirt path:

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3595...7i13312!8i6656
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Old 09-16-2015, 03:17 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
2,202 posts, read 1,424,463 times
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The battle field on obesity begins at Walmart where they muster in a plan to take over the world!!! It isn't simply obesity its where 30% of the women are 300-400 lbs and defy imagination as to where they get their close?!! Make no mistake these bahemoths are most often the sweetest people on the planet AND super intelligent!!! Obesity is a disease associated with an eating disorder often combined with hormonal and genetic factors. It often leads to diabetes , sleep apnea ( with associated pulmonary hypertension, cardiomegalia enlarged heart) skin eruptions, ugliness, loss of respect ( not appropriate but reality) . Eat less, exercise, desire to improve appearance, monitor nutrition ( reduce gluten, carbs, sweets ( sugar) drink water ( filtered not bottled not spring ) walk don't run (ever) don't bike (too dangerous) and do phase into fitness center , pray for help from Gods spirit!
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Old 09-16-2015, 03:24 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
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There's a sidewalk. Seems more like people just don't really care to use it it takes them an extra 30 seconds of their time to cross the street, which is probably true for a lot of people. That's just how useful a lot of us view sidewalks as being. Unless you're physically impaired it's kind of meh, a sidewalk. Nearly unwalkable place certainly doesn't seem that fun to walk along, although clearly people do. Putting a sidewalk in wouldn't make it much more enjoyable. But yeah, especially if you can't just get along on the dirt path it would make it possible. Again, for my 83-year-old grandmother that dirt path just wouldn't work. Possible but not a very fun place to walk with or without a sidewalk.
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Old 09-25-2015, 10:16 AM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,327,543 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Nope, not really. Unless you think 70 percent of Americans live in walkable communities. I'd actually put that at 100% as I could always walk wherever I've lived. Not that having sidewalks really makes some place any more "walkable," depending what you mean by that. I mean, what do you mean. Do you mean you can get around and do stuff because you're close enough? Basically everywhere incorporated and many unincorporated areas here all have sidewalks. I'd say less than 20% of them are walkable. Basically, it's the second definition of walkable as in it's not hostile to walk there. You're not walking along a narrow road with no shoulder and 50 mile-an-hour traffic. Some completely unwalkable areas are actually very nice to walk in. My neighborhood is okay. Quiet streets, sidewalks... I usually just head up on the levee though. You obviously can't walk to anything, but if you just want to get out and enjoy a walk and let the dogs run around it's great. It's either superbly walkable (great place to walk, no vehicle traffic at all) or completely unwalkable depending on what you're talking about.
This type of response is why I personally find the Urban Planning forum so frustrating and slllloooowwwww. The SG is hardly the person to teach on what makes a community walkable. But he's shining a light on the fact that walkability is a good thing, something that a significant number of Americans don't give a second thought to (and could use more encouragement with). Saying it has nothing to do with walkable communities is not even close to accurate...but I'm sure there'll be more focus on nonsense nuances, so don't let me stop you.
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Old 09-25-2015, 08:55 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,988 posts, read 102,540,351 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
Exciting new charge coming from the Surgeon General. It's about time!

Surgeon Generalís Warning: Unwalkable Places Are Hazardous to Your Health | Streetsblog USA

Will this have an impact in the planning community?
Y'know, I used to like the SG! He made a cute video about immunizations with Elmo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpOHIzkLP-g
But I really don't think he knows squat about urban planning. The research shows that in some instances anyway, the people who live in the most walkable neighborhoods are the least likely to walk for exercise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwiksell View Post
News Flash: Public money has already been dictating how people should live, and far more forcefully than anything the surgeon general is prescribing here. When our cities are designed such that the only reasonable housing choice for a young family (desiring quality public schools) is on or near a cul-de-sac and 2+ miles from the nearest supermarket, drug store, dry cleaner, etc, then yes, our lifestyles have been dictated to us by the powers that be. In a walkable neighborhood, residents have a choice to drive wherever they like. But in a non-walkable neighborhood, driving is the only option.

Additionally, the primary reason our infrastructure is failing and crumbling is that there is far too much of it. This nation never counted the cost of maintenance when building its version of Car-topia. The expressways, the bridges, the endless lane additions, the parking lots, and the miles and miles of redundant utility lines to connect buildings which are needlessly isolated from each other... the cost of maintaining all these luxuries is absurd.
That is really hyperbole! Most people live much closer than two miles to those kind of amenities, the stuff you need for everyday life. I agree with the poster who said you use cul-de-sac as if it were a curse word. Lots of people find cul-de-sacs desirable b/c they have less traffic.
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Old 09-26-2015, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,060 posts, read 16,066,811 times
Reputation: 12635
Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
This type of response is why I personally find the Urban Planning forum so frustrating and slllloooowwwww. The SG is hardly the person to teach on what makes a community walkable. But he's shining a light on the fact that walkability is a good thing, something that a significant number of Americans don't give a second thought to (and could use more encouragement with). Saying it has nothing to do with walkable communities is not even close to accurate...but I'm sure there'll be more focus on nonsense nuances, so don't let me stop you.
It really doesn't.

Take Jawbone data. Atlanta is around 7,000 steps per day average. How much does walkable (as in you can walk to accomplish things as opposed to not having barriers to walking, which is what the SG is talking about) really matter? Very little. In NYC or San Francisco? That's around 8,000 steps per day. I'd generally describe both as being punitive for driving in such that design really encourages people to walk or use transit quite strongly, and what's that get you? An extra thousand steps. And we're talking basically opposite ends of the spectrum here. NYC walk score of 88 to Atlanta's 46. A 91% increase in Walk Score only leads to a 14% increase in walking. Urban design is of very minor importance.

Now, Jawbone data is certainly going to have some selection bias. If you bought a Jawbone-like device, you're obviously at least aware that walking is good and interested in doing more of it. In a nutshell, if you're a Jawbone user you're basically already where the SG is trying to encourage people to be. If you take Fat Joe Blow with his 64 oz Big Gulp who circles around Wal-Mart to find the closest parking spot, design probably matters more. There's probably a bigger difference between him and Fat Joe Blow living in the NYC. Design means Fat Joe Blow Atlanta isn't forced to walk nearly as much. But then we're also talking about the average Jawbone NYC user only walking 8,000 steps so it isn't like urban design matters particularly much in forcing people to walk. Maybe it's 2,000 extra steps and Fat Joe Blow NYC does 5,000 steps instead of 3,000 steps as Fat Joe Blow Atlanta does. Both are essentially totally sedentary as they've made the lifestyle choices to be so and no amount of urban design will change this as it's just a lifestyle choice to be sedentary. Even Jawbone Joe NYC really isn't walking enough despite being interested in it and being basically forced to walk by design. And face it, we're just not going to make America look like NYC. Even if we could, it wouldn't be all that beneficial anyway. Lifestyle choices are just far more significant. Not only are they more significant, they're far easier to effect. They're the low hanging fruit whereas rebuilding America to look like NYC is climbing Mount Everest in a wheelchair.

A simple change in lifestyle would mean far more to Fat Joe Blow Atlanta's health than relocating to NYC would and is far easier to accomplish than rebuilding America in the mirror image of NYC. I mean, rebuilding America in NYC form isn't going to happen. That's where the SG's interest lies. He wants to see Fat Joe Blow Atlanta behave more like Jawbone Joe Atlanta. Where the are actually barriers that make walking difficult, those should be improved such that the community is walkable. That's a completely different definition of walkable than is generally used here, however, which is why the SG says that a large majority of people live in walkable communities but for a minority it is an issue. I personally disagree with his opinion that sidewalks are necessary, and as I've said the old ladies walking around my neighborhood every morning who don't use the sidewalks even though they're there clearly agree. I'm not anti-sidewalk. Their importance is just grossly exaggerated, as things like Nei's post where there's a walking path formed organically by all the people walking despite there being a sidewalk they could use if it mattered to them a few yards away. For most people in most places, the absence of a sidewalk is not a barrier to someplace being walkable. I still think we should have them where needed and where the lack thereof for the less physically able really does matter. That's basically a minor technical disagreement while I completely agree with the SG that people should be able to walk where they live, which is really the only place that urban design enters in. But then really I think that at least 95% of us live places where there is no impediment to walking should we choose to do so. You'd get a lot further by focusing on inner city crime than putting sidewalks in on an exurban street that sees <500 cars a day as far as that goes.

Last edited by Malloric; 09-26-2015 at 01:01 PM..
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Old 09-27-2015, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,327,543 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
It really doesn't.

Take Jawbone data. Atlanta is around 7,000 steps per day average. How much does walkable (as in you can walk to accomplish things as opposed to not having barriers to walking, which is what the SG is talking about) really matter? Very little. In NYC or San Francisco? That's around 8,000 steps per day. I'd generally describe both as being punitive for driving in such that design really encourages people to walk or use transit quite strongly, and what's that get you? An extra thousand steps. And we're talking basically opposite ends of the spectrum here. NYC walk score of 88 to Atlanta's 46. A 91% increase in Walk Score only leads to a 14% increase in walking. Urban design is of very minor importance.

Now, Jawbone data is certainly going to have some selection bias. If you bought a Jawbone-like device, you're obviously at least aware that walking is good and interested in doing more of it. In a nutshell, if you're a Jawbone user you're basically already where the SG is trying to encourage people to be. If you take Fat Joe Blow with his 64 oz Big Gulp who circles around Wal-Mart to find the closest parking spot, design probably matters more. There's probably a bigger difference between him and Fat Joe Blow living in the NYC. Design means Fat Joe Blow Atlanta isn't forced to walk nearly as much. But then we're also talking about the average Jawbone NYC user only walking 8,000 steps so it isn't like urban design matters particularly much in forcing people to walk. Maybe it's 2,000 extra steps and Fat Joe Blow NYC does 5,000 steps instead of 3,000 steps as Fat Joe Blow Atlanta does. Both are essentially totally sedentary as they've made the lifestyle choices to be so and no amount of urban design will change this as it's just a lifestyle choice to be sedentary. Even Jawbone Joe NYC really isn't walking enough despite being interested in it and being basically forced to walk by design. And face it, we're just not going to make America look like NYC. Even if we could, it wouldn't be all that beneficial anyway. Lifestyle choices are just far more significant. Not only are they more significant, they're far easier to effect. They're the low hanging fruit whereas rebuilding America to look like NYC is climbing Mount Everest in a wheelchair.

A simple change in lifestyle would mean far more to Fat Joe Blow Atlanta's health than relocating to NYC would and is far easier to accomplish than rebuilding America in the mirror image of NYC. I mean, rebuilding America in NYC form isn't going to happen. That's where the SG's interest lies. He wants to see Fat Joe Blow Atlanta behave more like Jawbone Joe Atlanta. Where the are actually barriers that make walking difficult, those should be improved such that the community is walkable. That's a completely different definition of walkable than is generally used here, however, which is why the SG says that a large majority of people live in walkable communities but for a minority it is an issue. I personally disagree with his opinion that sidewalks are necessary, and as I've said the old ladies walking around my neighborhood every morning who don't use the sidewalks even though they're there clearly agree. I'm not anti-sidewalk. Their importance is just grossly exaggerated, as things like Nei's post where there's a walking path formed organically by all the people walking despite there being a sidewalk they could use if it mattered to them a few yards away. For most people in most places, the absence of a sidewalk is not a barrier to someplace being walkable. I still think we should have them where needed and where the lack thereof for the less physically able really does matter. That's basically a minor technical disagreement while I completely agree with the SG that people should be able to walk where they live, which is really the only place that urban design enters in. But then really I think that at least 95% of us live places where there is no impediment to walking should we choose to do so. You'd get a lot further by focusing on inner city crime than putting sidewalks in on an exurban street that sees <500 cars a day as far as that goes.
This is what I'm talking about. People who are strapped to Jawbone data aren't exactly the Fat Joe Blow's, and places like NYC are over 300 square miles of land. If Americans want to squabble about studies and data over and over to try and prove various points through statistics (that can be manipulated to tell a thousand stories), then nothing of quality will ever happen. I'll take common sense, which is that when people live in a pleasant area where they have more choices to walk to a store, park or school, their health benefits in several ways. That doesn't mean everyone will do it, but it will gain more momentum and it won't cost any more than what we've been doing.

And the idea is not to rebuild America, it's to start making smarter choices about future build so that we have more pleasant places that increase people's activity as much as possible (less traffic, less gas money, less pollution, less stress, shorter commutes). I applaud the SG and hope more of the US's leaders catch-on to encourage wiser decisions.
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