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Author Topic: Americans Walk the Least of any Industrialized nation - article  (Read 716 times)
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Sablewings
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« on: April 16, 2012, 11:02:04 AM »

"Americans now walk the least of any industrialized nation in the world," says writer Tom Vanderbilt. To find out why that is, Vanderbilt has been exploring how towns are built, how Americans view walking and what might be done to get them moving around on their own two feet.

http://www.wnyc.org/npr_articles/2012/apr/16/americans-do-not-walk-the-walk-and-thats-a-growing-problem/

Just read this article, thought others might find it interesting, I mean, here where I am in the UK we have some town infrastructure that isn't pedestrian friendly, but it's not too bad in most places there are pedestrian provisions and crossings and nice places to walk like parks or by a river. I cannot imagine living somewhere where there is no option but to drive everywhere.

Sometimes, though, living in the country is worse than living in towns as there are just either roads or fields, and no viable verge to walk on - when I go to visit my friend in the Scottish lowlands he's in the country, but surrounded by 60mph fast country roads, fences, and no obvious footpaths or tracks - it seems people don't walk much round there...

It's a real concern with the rise in obesity, I feel lucky to be able to have the option of walking safely to the shops, and having plenty of right-of-way footpaths across farm fields nearby - if I can't get 20 minutes of walking in per day my mood feels lower.

What's the local area like where you live, and how easy is it for you to exercise or enjoy a walk?
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« on: April 16, 2012, 11:02:04 AM »

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« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2012, 11:30:13 AM »

Sometimes, though, living in the country is worse than living in towns as there are just either roads or fields, and no viable verge to walk on - when I go to visit my friend in the Scottish lowlands he's in the country, but surrounded by 60mph fast country roads, fences, and no obvious footpaths or tracks - it seems people don't walk much round there...
Walk to face the traffic (as in the Highway Code) and it's less of a problem. In the USA, the pedestrian is at a disadvantage compared with the motorist -- for example, the offence of jaywalking.
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2012, 01:32:30 PM »

I live in a pretty walk friendly city.  Not so much for walking to businesses and the like, but just taking the kids on a leisurely stroll is great.  Plenty of side walks available and also walking trails throughout the city. 
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2012, 06:47:56 PM »

If I walked everywhere I would get nowhere.  I would spend most of my day walking to and from the grocery store.  I live a good five miles from the nearest shopping center.  That is if I take the road with no sidewalk.  If I take the walking trails I think it adds a mile or two.  The trails kind of twist and turn through the woods.  It takes me 8/10th of a mile to walk around my block.  It takes me almost 1.5-2 miles to get out of my neighborhood to the road.  If I want to walk it is purely for enjoyment.  I have to rely on my car in order to get to any sort of infrastructure.

I do try and part as far away from a store as I can.  This gives me a little more distance to walk to get in to the store.  

I also like to walk around the grocery store.  For instance if I need two items from aisle A and one item from aisle Z. I will get the one item off aisle A and then go to Z to get the one item.  I then head back to aisle A to get the 2nd item.  It is inefficient but it adds a significant amount of walking to my shopping routine.

My walk score from http://www.walkscore.com is a 15 out of 100....  84% of Walk Score users have a higher Score.  If you use the StreetSmart (Beta) walking score it is a 2 out of 100.

The only place I can find where I lived that was worse is the place where my parents live in TX it is an 11 out of 15.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2012, 07:10:58 PM by BearFooted » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2012, 06:47:56 PM »

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« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2012, 07:19:25 PM »

My preferred supermarket is 3.5 miles away (and isn't easily accessible on foot). The nearest is just over a mile and could be walked to, but is more expensive and has lower quality products. However, when I'm grocery shopping, I'll usually bring back more stuff than I could easily carry on foot.

Thirty years ago, where I live used to have a cluster of local shops (greengrocer, post office, butcher, etc.) on the nearest major road junction, about 200 yards walk from the house. They've all gone now. Only the off licence (US: liquor store) remains.
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« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2012, 08:31:55 PM »

i live in a small town in iowa. I purposefully picked this small town because i don't drive. i can get rides from my girlfriend whenever i need, but my main source of transportation and enjoyment is walking. Around here, people think i'm nuts. I think THEY'RE nuts, and i get real sick of the "you're to skinny," crap.  Maybe if everyone else took advantage of how small and compact this town really is, they wouldn't need motorized wheelchairs when they drive out to wally world.

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« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2012, 11:10:46 PM »

I think it's sad that so many places in the US are unwalkable.  I live in a fairly large city, and when my boyfriend and I moved last fall we purposely chose our neighborhood so that we're within walking distance of a Whole Foods-style grocery store, many coffee shops and restaurants, and a running trail. We count ourselves as really lucky to be able to have the option to do so, as there are so many places in the US where this isn't even a possibility.

Unfortunately, I also think many Americans are both lazy and in a hurry (wonder what the connection is there? Smiley ), and even if everyone lived in a walkable community, I bet a large percentage of people would still drive rather than walk.
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« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2012, 01:09:17 PM »

I love NPR =)

That's where I first heard this story..


I'd love to walk more.. but I commute 40 minutes to and from work everyday and 1.5 hours to my boyfriend's every weekend. My local gym isn't even close enough (it's like 8 miles from my house)

I am hoping that when the bf and I move I won't have to drive like that anymore!! That gas $ is killing me, and the toll on my [paid off!] car makes me sad.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2012, 01:12:06 PM by Stefanie » Logged

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