Thursday, September 29, 2016


I do think a lot of people have a distorted view of pedestrian distance, and one reason is that for a lot of people nearby walking is pretty miserable. I'm not arguing that an additional 22ish minutes each way on your commute, if that's what you're doing, is a nontrivial amount of time, but for people without mobility issues it isn't exactly a big physical burden. If the walk is nice, and you can do some errands along the way like stop in the supermarket or pick up your dry cleaning, or, hell, hit happy hour at your local, it might even be enjoyable/productive. Not all miles are created equal.

Habits also impact this view. On the various local/urban issue internet forums where people argue about this stuff, it's clear that people who drive for their commute are more likely to perceive a 3 block walk home from a parking spot to be a big burden, while people who depend on transit don't think much about it at all.

This is where people scream "but weather!" Yes, yes, some places are unbearably hot or unbearably cold for some months of the year. However, there aren't many places in the country that have "bad" weather - too hot, or too cold - more than 4 months per year, really. Less perfect weather, sure, but not so hot or cold that a 22 minute walk is unbearable given proper clothing. Hot's a bit more difficult than cold for people who are commuting, but even the hot places really are mostly fine the other 8 months.