Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The 1-Mile Solution

In catching up with my cycling-blog reading this morning, I ran across something that I'd like to help promote--or at least, Twilight Zone-like, present for your consideration.

Early in this blog's life, I posted a little something in which I mused on how cycling changes how we think about that thing we call a neighborhood. Over at Carbon Trace, Andy Cline has a proposition for us to consider that's very much in keeping with the spirit of that post of mine:
The idea is simple: Find your home on a map. Draw a circle with a 1-mile radius around your home. Try to replace one car trip per week within that circle by riding a bicycle or walking. At an easy riding pace you can travel one mile on a bicycle in about seven minutes. Walking takes about 20 minutes at an easy pace.
He's right, of course: Not only can almost all of us physically do this easily; most of us--even us suburbanites--live in places where, logistically, we can do this. Here, for example, is my neighborhood's walk score. I happen to live just on the outer edge of downtown, so my neighborhood's score is high, but I suspect that most neighborhoods in Wichita won't score much lower than mine does.

I realize that if you're reading this, I'm preaching to the choir. The thing, though, is to spread this idea like a (real) meme: via blog posts, through writing our representatives in support of legislation that would facilitate this, and of course through our own example.


The Jolly Crank said...

I have punched in other addresses that I know in Wichita which don't get as nice of a score as your neighborhood. However, this is a 'walk' score. Someone with a lower walk score could still do well cycling (in terms of distance, but maybe not infrastructure).
You are absolutely correct with your main point--this is information people can use to help shift our culture away from all the rolling cages.

MathDadd said...


Thanks for the link. My address showed a Mexican restaurant and a lumber store within 1 mile of my house. They gave me a 9 out of 100 and ranked it "Car Dependent-Worst".

Oops. The supposed Mexican restaurant is a house nestled in a tony residential-only-zoned subdivision.

Same for the putative hardware store.

There is no yellow pages listing under restaurants. I thought, maybe it's a home-based caterer. No YP listing for that either.

In short, my neighborhood gets a true-to-the-facts 0.
Our nearest grocery store is 2.8 miles away. Our nearest restaurants, which would be Pizza Hut and Subway, are 2.2 miles away. Our nearest cafe, and I use "our" loosely, is a Starbucks, is 4.7 miles. The nearest bar is 2.6 miles.

It is worth noting as well that our subdivisions are "siloed". You can ride around my development. And its neighboring ones. But you have to go to the major aterial to go from one to the other. This is common today for the suburbs/exurbs. It's not like the old neighborhoods that have continuous streets threading through them. I don't know who comes up with these master plans.