Grow Smart RI

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:

stupid formatting cuts off the right-hand side

Noah, at KC-Bike Commuting mentioned this in a recent post, the image is from this article which links to the original article.

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.


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