Monday, July 21, 2008

It's all about perspective....

2 mins. drive to various grocery stores, 5 mins drive to 101, 237 and other freeways.

This came from a post my work's internal for sale email list. What struck me was how the advantages of the location were couched in terms of how easy it was to drive to different places, especially when the distances were so short. A two minute drive in a suburban area means that you can drive about a mile under the best of conditions. In a race between a bike and car at these distances, the bike would probably win. As for walking it's probably 7 minutes. These are all walking distances, but we look at the world in terms of a car as a part of ourselves.

I remember when I use to live downtown in a major city, one of my favorite benefits was the ability to walk around the corner to my grocery store. It gave me an opportunity to notice the world around me. There use to be a time when schools bused students by how far they lived. Even high school students use to walk when families use to have one car, maybe two. Somehow, the assumption changed to everyone having a car. No wonder why we feel so indebted as a nation. Cars are definitely convenient, but defining the world in those terms seems a loss instead of a gain.

So what's a walkable distance? When do you decide to walk? To ride a bike? To drive? My local convenience store is a 10 minute walk, and 2 minute bike. For me it's a mix of time of day, weather and schedule. The little gears of my mind crank along, and what I get is....

3 Comments:

At 4:30 AM , Blogger Heather @ SGF said...

I only drive when I have to get milk (too far to get dairy back in the TX heat on a bike), when I have to get the "kids" to the vet, or when my hubby is driving and I am going to the same general place at the same time. Otherwise, I'm all biking, walking, and bussing. Driving just stresses me out.

 
At 7:51 AM , Blogger Dianna said...

all my walking ideas changed when i had a kid. it's a ten minute or so walk to the supermarket, but if i walked with a three year old, this would likely take three times more than that, plus she'd poop out three quarters of the way and ask to be carried, repeat this on the way back, not to mention that she's extremely heavy and i'd be holding a grocery bag ... and you have me saying "forget it, we'll drive."

 
At 12:05 PM , Blogger Melissa said...

I bike whenever I can - which to me (being in not great shape) is anything within about 6 miles (one way). Farther than that and I start to consider driving. Or if I'm going out at night. Or if I'm buying a lot of heavy groceries that don't fit in my backpack. I really need to get some sort of basket for the bike! I don't enjoy walking all that much, so I'll only do it on a rare occasion. I use public transportation from time to time. Still, even with all the biking I try to do, I end up driving more than I'd like - but that's sort of how the Bay Area is designed, unfortunately.

 

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