Walkability is over-rated

Transit Oriented Development and Renewal of No...

Walking to & from a station is not real goal. Origination at home, near destinations is.

Cars are great, but at the light you wait. People are out of shape, eating more than a grape. Transit is late, while congestion makes one irate. Would it be nice if destinations were real close? How realistic is that goal? One chooses the location of their home, and then seem to want to have more businesses locate near them. Sounds selfish and devoid of a realistic reality. How about finding a location with plenty of businesses? 

There seems to be an overwhelming desire to be able to walk to places. However, that’s not coming from many citizens. It’s coming from planners and secretaries. Urban planners do more than figure layouts, services and infrastructure; they want you to behave a certain way. Those secretaries are La Hood and Salazar, of DOT and Interior. Convenience to destinations by force?

People like to have yards and to be away from noise and traffic. Current residential areas are not prudent for businesses to come in and build stores and factories and offices. Neighbors don’t want that development. In most neighborhoods, with a sizable amount of people, there is not sufficient available open land (unless the current parks are built on).

There cannot be high walkability without high density. For each business, there is an amount of space needed for employees and customers. Many more drive, for which there can easily be insufficient roads and parking for new development. Not an incredible amount of “stuff” can be within every 1/3 mile walking radius area. Looking at job, walking there would be great. Consider the probability for many employees for businesses to live nearby.

To have many places to walk to, there are cramped and older living conditions. One can find many “nicer” hoods at much lower prices in Texas metros vs NYC region or CA metros. For those who find it “nicer” to walk, and carry home: groceries, furniture and all other sorts of goods, one has to give up many other “nice” items, pay a higher price and deal with more negatives (noise, crime, traffic).

Planners are somewhat learning that TODs (transit oriented design) don’t provide near enough customers for stores. These have become, mainly an expensive place for a small niche of people to live—those who like those few amenities. Moreover, it’s just a commuter hub, for workers to drive to, park and take commuter rail. The main goal of increasing transit ridership has little spillover in people walking more.

Urban design, including layout and mixed zoning can facilitate walking to wanted destinations. There is still a need for parking space and multi-levels increase the cost exorbitantly. Downtowns are the most likely places for walking, which is obvious, but the size is only about one square mile and a small portion for any city, but does have a high concentration of employment. Not that many people live there, nor want to. For visitors or workers, they get here mostly b car, then walk around. For retail, the carrying purchases is still an issue. Only so much can be carried home. Weather is also ignored, often being rainy or cold for up to half the time.

Walking to a few places is not the goal of most people when they select housing. Why do so many big-gov types, avoid the fact that over 85% of adults have a car? And for those who prefer no car, but have one, they picked the wrong area to live, because choices where there is widespread transit are limited.

Street "Furniture"

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About Randall
A contrarian, not for conflict, but because many decisions are made, without considering the full impact & consequences.

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