+165 A lot of people seem to fundamentally misunderstand "walkable communities". amirite?

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I live in a walkable community and have three grocery store options within a ten minute walk. I can access a shopping mall, the metro, urgent care, plenty of restaurants, and a Best Buy all within 10 minutes or less. It has drastically improved my quality of life and saves me so much time. When I returned to my hometown I felt that the day was over so quickly despite only going to a few places. I realized it's driving that takes up half of my day. I'm happier, and much healthier in a walkable city. I truly wish more American cities were built like this. It doesn't even have to be cities. Just small pockets of walkable communities will work for me.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I used to live in a major U.S. city, but I moved further out to a smaller city of around 70,000 people. But it's still very walkable. I have a grocery story that's less than ten minutes away walking as well as a downtown with restaurants and bars and a beautiful river side with trails and a board walk. Also, I'm a ten minute walk to the rail that will take me to the much bigger city forty-five minutes south. The thing is, even smaller towns can be built so that they can be walkable. This is something that most Americans can have if we're smarter about designing our cities and towns.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Yeah, I've lived in towns and cities of varying sizes and IME walkability doesn't correlate to population size all that much. The more important factor is density, which itself tends to correlate with population I suppose, but is still achievable at any size if the residents care to do so.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I am talking directly out my ass, but I wonder if developers don't build up until the property value is crazy high, which mostly happens where demand is highest, which is in the most desirable locations.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

If you get into city planning youtube (lol) apparently most of this issue comes out of zoning changes funded by the auto and tire manufacturers in the 1950s. Completely changed how North America built cities and led to a lot of walkable areas getting destroyed over time.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

More desirability --> more people --> more housing needed. Makes sense. Zoning laws can disrupt this, of course, but if development were allowed to happen "organically" then I think less-->more dense would be the natural progression of most towns and cities. Although density in a small town will usually look different than it does in a big city anyway. Smaller lot sizes rather than taller buildings. Maybe a few 4-plexes.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I live in a very small town (~800 people) outside of a bigger city, but I can't even walk to the gas station (maybe 100 yards away) from my house because I'd be crossing a huge, fast, 4-lane highway... it doesn't have to be this way. People could just plan better. It's so dumb.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I live in a big city that's very walkable but previously lived in much smaller cities (25k and 40k). I purposely sought out apartments in walkable parts of the small cities. It's definitely possible to find and doesn't need to be in a big city. It's also funny. My dad grew up in the country. Lives in a less walkable place now. He couldn't comprehend how I live without a car today. But after visiting me in the big city (and discovering affordable bus rides for retirees) he's confused as to why I'd ever want a car. The best advertisement for walkable cities is actually experiencing one.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

100% this. Once you've lived in a walkable city, the idea of living in an area that's not walkable is **massively** less appealing. It feels like a lifestyle downgrade

by Anonymous 6 months ago

It is a lifestyle downgrade. I spent 10 years in DC without a car. Loved every second of it.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

People don't know what their missing is the problem. You can't explain to someone what it's like when getting groceries is not a chore but a pleasant experience that might involve a friendly chat with people you bump I to , getting a coffee or ice cream on the way. It's also hard to put in words not have to drive 45 mins each way to work every day means. That's extra 1 and 1/2 hrs you get to do things for yourself . Going to workout , get a hobby or heck just go to the pub with your friends.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

People become accustomed to being inconvenienced and don't understand how inconvenienced they are until they spend time somewhere that's easy to get around in.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

this is probably the truth.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I've had the opposite experience. Trading away space and privacy just to save a little bit of time driving has driven me nuts. I can't wait to buy some property in the middle of nowhere and be able to do whatever I want with it.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I have a similar type area but not walkable. Like 6 grocery stores within 5 miles! Sidewalks to get there? No

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Small pockets connected by light rail is my "semi-realistic" USA dream.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I love living in a walkable neighborhood, I'll never live somewhere where you need to have a car again. However the way you're wanting everyone to buy groceries is going to be significantly more expensive. It is much cheaper and more efficient to buy groceries for the week and cook your meals.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Yes, if the people get off at 6 or 7, if they bought groceries every two days they'd be eating at 8. It's better to have your groceries in the house already

by Anonymous 6 months ago

>Yes, if the people get off at 6 or 7, if they bought groceries every two days they'd be eating at 8. It's better to have your groceries in the house already I think the best thing is to combine the two. Do a large shopping trip every few weeks or months where you get non-perishables like conserves and stuff like flour, pasta, condiments etc. Then every few days you can do a small shopping trip to the nearest store and grab a few groceries and maybe some good stuff on sale. That'll set you back like 15 minutes...

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I live a walkable distance from a grocery store and this is the way

by Anonymous 6 months ago

> I think the best thing is to combine the two. Do a large shopping trip every few weeks or months where you get non-perishables like conserves and stuff like flour, pasta, condiments etc. > > This is what we do. We do a costco run every other month or so for proteins, which we freeze, but I'm regularly popping into the produce stand on the way home for some onions, a cucumber, some fresh herbs, etc. It helps that there's a small corner market about 5 minutes' walk that carries basics at a reasonable price. I love not having to drive to the store just because I forgot brown sugar, pasta, or a Snickers.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

That's what I do. Sometimes I'll go to the grocery every single day. I like to be flexible with my meal plans, and for me, it reduces food waste. Also, an odd thing since Covid: produce just doesn't seem as fresh anymore in the grocery stores around me. I can buy produce on Monday and by Wednesday or Thursday it's not looking good. And if I try to buy for a whole week, my shopping trips take forever if they're out of something, or something doesn't look that good and I have to pivot and decide what else I'm going to make. Shopping for one or two meals at a time is just super fast and flexible.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Exactly. TBH, I live alone and obviously buy less, but this is what I do: I go maybe once a month with a car and get heavier things that I can't carry as easily. I probably go twice a week to the grocery store otherwise for fresh food. You typically do not need to go to daily to buy food. Also, if you're short on time, we're in the age of ordering ahead. I put orders in during the day and walk to pick up after work - takes 10 minutes. Also Americans buy way too much junk. They don't really need that much and are unlikely to consume ALL of it in one month. Fresh food will go bad after about a week and can't be bought in bulk anyway.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

That's a pretty common time to eat dinner in Europe, where most communities are walkable

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Unless you're in Spain. If you have dinner at 8pm you're a psycho... because we have dinner at 9:30pm at the earliest.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

After living in Spain for awhile, I tried so hard to convince my parents not to go there when they took a trip around Europe. My mom hasn't stayed up past 10pm in the last 30 years. She will literally fall asleep in movie theaters or in the middle of watching her favorite shows around 9:30.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Just out of curiosity, what's the most commonly respectable time to get up in the morning there?

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Depends on when you start work/classes (they usually start at 8-9am). But on weekends, say, between 8 and 10? I don't know, it just really depends on the person (like anywhere else, really). But for example, it's not uncommon for teenagers to regularly wake up at 11:00am+.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Makes sense in Spain, you don't want to eat a big meal when it's still hot outside

by Anonymous 6 months ago

It's my understanding they don't eat big meals for dinner. Lunch is the bigger meal. And there are hot regions in the US too.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

This is true. Also, lunch is usually eaten around 2-4pm so of course you aren't ready for dinner until 8, at the earliest.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

During the summer, sure, but during the rest of the year, not so much lol

by Anonymous 6 months ago

They set up different! By the time it's 5 or 6 I'm super hungry as I've eaten lunch at noon.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

It doesn't take an hour to grab two days worth of food on your way home

by Anonymous 6 months ago

You dont have to buy different things than you would if you went less frequently, youre just spacing out your purchases differently. Ive done this for years. Ill still buy a bulk pack of chicken, but I dont buy multiple different meats at once like I used to. If I'm running low on paper towels I'll grab a bulk pack of paper towels while I'm there, the next time I might get my bulk pack of toilet paper. I waste way less vegetables this way, because I don't buy them unless I intend to use them in the next day or 2. So that saves money.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

This is how i shop. Maybe buy 3 or 4 days worth of meat and veggies. Always the cheapest cuts, deals, sales, coupons. Makes no difference shopping for 2 weeks or 3 days. You also wont miss the different sales that happen on different days as much either, so one could argue it can be better this way.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Exactly, if you only go shopping every other Sunday you end up buying things at whatever price they are on that Sunday. When you go a few times a week you can say, well I dont really *need* cheese today, maybe theyll have the cheaper brand in stock on another day but oh look, butter is on sale today I'll grab that even though I have some at home.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I think he meant you have an option to buy groceries while returning from work, not literally that you do it daily.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

You can still do that in a walkable community?? I cook all my meals and still go to the store almost daily for something.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Agree here. OP is right except on the grocery side. One apartment building lived in shared a parking lot with a grocery store, so just a 1 minute walk for me. I still did most of my shopping once a week. Going every day or every other day to the store would drive me crazy.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

In India they do this the right way. Most of your meals are made with shelf stable ingredients - rice, flour, lentils, etc. and people with carts come through your neighborhood selling vegetables. Like literally yell "I am selling \_\_\_" and if you want it you go down and buy it right then and make the curry with it. There is also a milk man that comes daily.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I have a grocery store within a 2 minute walk from me but buying groceries everyday because I technically can seems ridiculous and expensive. I was just able to buy a months worth of meat from a warehouse store for under $200. If I were to buy the same quantity the way it's sold in my local grocery store, it would have been almost double that.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I would love nothing more than to do my Costco runs and stock up on non perishables but then be able to buy fresh produce easily every couple days.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

That's mainly what people are talking about in here when it comes to bulk food. It's actually pretty interesting as in the past when I wasn't buying bulk proteins I meal planned based on the protein I was gonna cook up, but now that I keep a freezer stocked with chicken, pork, and beef I generally meal plan based on the vegetables I need to pick up for the week. I decide on a side dish that sounds good, and then simply choose a frozen pack of chicken, pork, or beef to thaw out for the entre.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

There's loads of middle ground here. You can buy bulk for some things that keep longer, but most fresh produce doesn't stay good that long, so instead of buying it and letting it just go bad, you can buy it before you need to use it.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

The "buy dinner as you walk home every day" thing is more of an illustration of a possibility than a financial recommendation. I buy bulk too. But it would be nice if when you already started cooking dinner but realized you forgot an ingredient, you could send your 15 year old kid or your spouse or whoever three minutes across the street to grab the milk or whatever real quick.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

It's because people want a walkable community that includes their personal acre of land. That kind of walkable community is impossible.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I have to admit, this is kinda me, ha. I want a super walkable lifestyle but I also want room for like 6 raised garden beds and some flowers too. And room for my kid to play outside.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Community gardens and parks are lovely things, we just haven't prioritized them enough. If you look at most apartment complexes you'll see the buildings people live in, parking lots, and then on the fringes any other amenities. In the US the parking for 15 cars would almost always take priority over a basketball court that would occupy the same footprint.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

> That kind of walkable community is impossible. Guess I'd better get a car then.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Absolutely.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

It's not that professional urban planners fundamentally misunderstand the concept, it's that they build what is actually profitable and desirable in the US. Generally that's larger houses and larger yards, with the tradeoff that you'll need to drive or bike a few minutes to get to most things.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Honestly yeah. I'd much rather have a big house with a big yard and drive 15 minutes or so to the store than have a ten minute walk.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I live in a walkable community in Texas. I'm near a grocery store and other stores. But the heat is a factor. It was over 100F degrees here from June until October. Some days it was 107 and felt hotter. No matter how walkable your area is , the heat is a factor, as I imagine the cold is in some places

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Or try the midwest, home of 100+ days in the summer and below zero days with 3 feet of snow in the winter. It gets wild! I do enjoy having the option to walk when it makes sense though. Also, what if your car breaks down or is getting worked on? I think that is more of the takeaway here - having the option is never a bad thing.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Everyone ignoring your last line as well. There's a reason why you don't see too many people outside in northern cities in the winter. Freezing is fine but once you get bellow 0F with wind chill it becomes not so fun and can be literally painful. Summer is very lively but winter not so much.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Yeah the cold is a massive issue for me. I live a 10 minute walk from the grocery store and I walk during the all the seasons except winter. I drive to that grocery store during the winter as I'm not interested in wearing 4 layers of clothing just to not freeze during my 10 minute walk to the grocery store.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

This is why tree shade is so important. A key part in walkability is protecting the pedestrian from the elements and providing a comfortable walk. Putting down more asphalt and concrete is only going to make it hotter. As a landscape architect I could imagine a way to make this doable, like creating infrastructure for walking that is away from a hot road maybe on the side of a body of water like a river that goes directly to the store

by Anonymous 6 months ago

You could make 100 degrees (not heat index, but raw) with high humidity doable? How!? Even walking in a forest is almost unbearable.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

People who never lived in places like Florida and Texas don't understand what it's like to live and work here. Stepping outside feels like stepping into a sauna and makes everything more difficult.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

"Why are you dripping with sweat, it's 11pm?" "Oh, I just rolled the trash can to the street. It's still 88 out"

by Anonymous 6 months ago

So. Damn. True. It'll be 99% humidity too!

by Anonymous 6 months ago

That's cool and all but im from Phoenix. Placing a lot of trees would be terrible for the environment since it's a desert. It would require so much water to maintain it would be horrible. There are also no body's of water here really. Making one would be impractical and it would end up disgusting like all the other canals they have built over the years. Not to mention the humidity it would cause in those areas.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Shade will not help you here…

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I'd rather live away from the hustle and bustle of the busyness a walkable community includes but have better public transportation to get there.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I moved to the Netherlands and it was the first time I saw actual walkable cities, nothing is further than 15 minutes from my house, the roads are FAR safer than anywhere else I have ever lived (for motorists and pedestrians), and due to how everything is designed you're better protected from the elements. Most people here still own cars, people still have that option, but the point of walkable cities is cars are not necessary for everybody to own, and if you do own one you dont have to use it every day because most of what you want/need to do can be done without driving.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I don't misunderstand walkable communities, I simply don't want to live by anyone.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

City people are wild.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

You missed one important aspect though - if someone doesn't like walkable neighborhoods, *they don't have to live there.* "But I like driving to the grocery store!" Okay cool, live somewhere else that's designed around cars. The number of drivers who get all worked up about not being able to conveniently drive somewhere they don't even live is insane.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

It's even easier. I live in a walkable TOWN. (Think Europe.) I can walk everywhere. I have everything, and I mean everything I need, in a 10-20 minute walking radius. But we have malls too, and large grocery stores with parking space. So if you WANT to drive to the grocery store every two weeks, that's perfectly doable.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Also true. I live in Chicago; can walk to like 5-6 grocery stores in 15 minutes, plus Target, a ton of bars and restaurants, all sorts of stores. But my building also has a parking garage, and we drive to Costco at least once a month, and to other stores further out if we need to. But we only use the car on average maybe once a week or every other week?

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Ex urban planner here. It's generally actually not the issue of urban planners and architects. Urban planning is an incredibly complex and political practice and it's about balancing the needs of residents, business, infrastructure, economy, budget and a whole heck of a lot of NIMBYism and political structures. Most urban planners are quite knowledgeable in how to plan a neighbourhood or city that is well, but their hands can often be tied. It's why I left urban planning. My vision could never be fully realised because of the complex structures that planners work within. I took my skills into tech and UX design and it's still political and a lot of my recommendations don't make it through, but more of them do and there is way less pushback and bureaucracy I have to deal with.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

A "walkable" neighborhood also needs to be a safe one.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

that's nonsense. You can walk to the ER after you get stabbed.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

If you can walk yourself to the ER, clearly someone messed up in their stabbing

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I like walking. I don't live in a particularly walkable area right now, but when I did I used to walk a lot, to the coffee shop or to get a snack or do some light shopping. I could walk to those places from where I live, but it's a more heavily trafficked road and not very safe to do. I work 12's and I'm sore after my shift, grocery shopping every couple days is not something I will ever do no matter how close the store is. I'm 10 minutes from several major grocery stores and some smaller markets, I go once a week to every other week and it works perfectly for me. But more importantly, I don't want to live in the heart of *everything*. I don't mind driving a bit to go to a restaurant, see a movie, etc because I like having a bit of space around me. Some people love never having to drive or owning a car but it isn't for me. I live in a decent-sized city, but on the outskirts, and 20 minutes from a major city that is considered completely walkable, at least in downtown. I go there pretty frequently and every time I think "wow I'm glad I don't have to do this every day". Too many people everywhere.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I'm a two minute walk from either Safeway or my local bar. What else does a man need?

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Super unpopular opinion, but I hate walkable cities. I have chronic pain issues. I also walk and stand a lot at work. I don't want to walk anywhere unless I'm being paid to. I go to NYC twice a year and loathe this aspect of the city, to me it's painful, time consuming, and exhausting.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

We lived in a walkable neighborhood in the last town. We could walk to two neighborhood pubs, a grocery, dry cleaners, liquor store, vet & dentist. We miss that.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Just been to Pompeii today. Those comrades understood walkable cities.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I would LOVE to be able to walk to a grocery store. In theory, I can but it's a treacherous walk and I like being alive.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Americans are very resistant to even imagining lifestyles different from their current one. Can't even convenience what a world with healthcare or gun control could look like much less functional bikeable paths.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

You are never going to get past the fact that the majority of Americans are just plain lazy. I had an aunt who used to drive to the city park to walk. She lived across the street from the park. A two lane sparsely travelled street.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

~~misunderstand~~ *intentionally misrepresent*

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Do you know what we call a walkable community in europe? "Town", "village" or "city".

by Anonymous 6 months ago

>I get slammed by a variety of idiotic responses. "I don't want to walk to get groceries" > >\[proceeds to explain how people will have to waste their time making several walking trips to the grocery store everyday\] > > Americans, have zero idea what they are talking about in regards to walkable communities. I think the issue here is you.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Urban planners don't advocate for luxury apartment complex, they advocate for affordable housing. Developers are the ones who come in and built that type of housing because it's profitable

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I dont want to live in or deal with a walkable neighborhood. I value my time too much for that. I will stick to piling groceries in my gas guzzler once a week. And dont mind driving 30 min each way for work. I totally understand your definition of it, but dont like the idea a bit!

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Nah, I think most people are tired of hearing it because the "walkable cities" crowd pretends like this is just the solution to solve crime and other societal issues. When the reality is, it would make things much worse.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I think people recognize that it would require density. And, IMO, density sucks.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I like your idea, but they are called cities and the prices are high because of the convenience. The cheap places to live are the inconvenient places to live with less entertainment and everything else.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

These actually do exist in a lot of towns across America in some of the only communities with a highly social population with disposable income and limited car ownership….. College towns, specifically the closer you get to campus

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I will say even if I can walk to a grocery store I'll usually still take my car. Just so I'm able to get more groceries than what I can just carry.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

Just move to Europe. I live in Munich. I CHOOSE to drive to work. If I go shopping, I can choose whether I pick up a few things by foot or drive the 5 minutes to the nearest bigger supermarket. It's all about multiple options.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

going to the grocery store every day sounds like an absolute nightmare.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

I live in a walkable community and there's no way I'd walk if it were the same temp here as it is in Houston during the summer. Shade doesn't make much difference when it's 110 and 80% humidity.

by Anonymous 6 months ago

yeah i don't think i've seen a single person who misunderstands this, some people just genuinely don't care

by Anonymous 6 months ago