Can’t get there from here . . .

Individual car-based transportation is bad – ok – we’ve all heard that before.  And, I still drive my car everywhere (or have my husband drive me.)  How much of this is me being lazy / busy / personally accountable?  How much of this are factors beyond my control – stuck in a society that demands we drive by not providing alternatives?

Walk Score offers insight into that question – could I walk to the important places I need from my home, if I wanted to? My home scores a very-car-dependent 42/100, even though I live in the older, central part of a community.  Below you can see a more walkable neighborhood:

I found the program to be a bit optimistic – it listed a convenience store as a grocer – but overall the scoring looks correct.

Additionally, you can enter your commute address and receive a comparison for walking, biking, busing, and driving.   (I was completely unsurprised that I cannot get the bus from my home to work.)

What did surprise me is that it said I could bike to work in only twice the time it takes me to drive.  That’s not enough to get me balancing on a bicycle in my work clothes carrying books – but it moves me one step closer to that motorized tricycle that I’ve been dreaming of.

Much discussion is given to building alternative transportation – but more discussion should be given to the structure of our neighborhoods.  If my husband and I could walk to get groceries, to the doctor, or to the credit union, we would probably get there as often as we do Denny’s Doughnuts.

If walkability – whether tied to transportation or neighborhood viability – becomes valuable, change will come.  Already, a number of realtors use this data to sell or rent homes.  As tools like Walk Score allow people to see the value of systemic change, more change will happen.

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