A local public radio station recently ran an interview with Scott Wolf the executive director of Grow Smart RI. Despite the fact that I listen to this radio station an average of 6 hours per day, somehow I missed this interview. Luckily, the radio station in question keeps a handy archive of all of their local feature stories. You can listen to the interview here.
I’ll have to take a closer look at this organization for a full write-up at a later date. In the meantime, it reminds me that this is a blog about living car-free, not just a bike blog and I’ve been neglecting the rest of the car-free equation. I may have mentioned it before, but the single most important thing that one can do in order to have a car-free (or car-light) life, is choose the right place to live. Take a look at what’s within a 1.5 – 2.0 mile radius of where you live now. Walking 1.5 miles takes about 20-25 minutes maximum, 2 miles a little longer. Living less than 2 miles from your workplace can be a little hard to do – especially these days when people tend to keep a job for 5 years or less. But what other trips do you take on a regular basis? Grocery store, school, place of worship, favorite restaurants, shopping center? If you pick a place to live that is within 1.5 to 2 miles of many of those destinations, imagine how much less you would have to drive.
The problem of course, is that most suburban neighborhoods are not created for walking. While a grid system allows you to cover a great deal of distance on foot – the standard suburban system of loops, cul-de-sacs and feeder streets leading to semi-major streets leading to major streets. Check this out:
I’m not sure if these are the best two examples. I’d like to see the option on the right paired up against a quadrant like this:
This is one square mile – the roads marked in yellow are a mile apart. The entire city of Central Falls, RI or Emeryville, CA could fit in this neighborhood of Olathe. I guess I’ll find out soon what it’s like to walk around in a place like this.