4739RE: [carfree_cities] Why do people drive? (was: Digest Number 689)
- May 13, 2002Maybe that is part of it. But I think you're missing
> the simpler and more important fact: where and how...
> most people now live, driving is their fastest
> commute to work.
> Let me use myself as an example. I purposely live
> inside the city, partly because I prefer walking to
> all other modes of getting around. The last two
> places I worked were 3 miles and 4 miles from home,
> and I either walked or took the bus. Alas, my
> current client's office is out in the burbs -- too
I know this is a problem caused by the car culture. In the centuries before
the car exist, people were working at a distance they could travel to and
from each day (if they travelled). Now that's not always true. If it's not
risky for your job, you may require clients to be at a distance you can
travel yourself, or at least near a transit stop.
It was better, even in the early 20th century. If we take for example my
town: a 40km suburban area outside Montreal. 50 to 75 years ago,
Vaudreuil-Dorion was a small town. People living there were working there,
there were more shops on the main street. The neighbourhood near the train
station was made of weekend-summer cottages (houses not meant for living
year-round during the winter). They were owned by people living in Montreal
during the week, who were going to the cottage during vacation/weekends,
mostly by train. Those people presumably were working in Montreal. So for
most people then, travelling from Vaudreuil to Montreal was seen as a long
distance trip, a commute too far to be done each day, unless perhaps you're
living next to the train, of if you're the trainman. Even within Montreal,
distances were seen far. There was no metro, just trams downtown and in the
surroundings, some people living at the edges if Montreal island were like
in another town and most of them were working at a distance they could walk.
And a walkable distance was maybe 30 minutes or more for a single trip. The
economy regionalised, not centralised into "mega cities" like it is today.
Today, yes, there is more transit, but still too few people use it even
though it is full at rush hours. The rest of people are in their metal/glass
shells morning and end-afternoon. We start losing green spaces and woods,
even in Vaudreuil, because new housings are built each year. Many people
find Vaudreuil to Montreal is not far even if it is in reality. If people
want to retire to nature in a weekend/summer cottage, now they have to go
even farther to enjoy the "same" amount of quietness they had 50 years ago
closer to the metropolis, thus again, requiring a car because some of our
few train and long distance bus lines died in the last decades. The
scarceness of local shops and those "mega stores" selling packages so heavy
you can't carry more than one at once don't help the case. They are too much
concentrated, therefore too few of them exist, and you're more likely to be
too far from any of these "depot" stores to think about shopping there.
I guess the best is to search a job downtown, shop downtown, live downtown
or close to a transit stop. I hope we'll build new suburban housings close
to transit, and not let all the land next to transit stops be invaded by
Today's thought is good for any North American city. Some changes have to be
done to correct serious mistakes done in the past 50 years.
For my job, I could afford searching 1 year (while on welfare with low
income), and refusing some opportunities until I found one I can accept and
continue to live carfree. Today I find a better life quality, and feel
rewarded for my patience, so if you can afford to do the same, I suggest it
> far to walk. Sometimes I have bicycled, but itI hope your knee gets better, do your best to solve the problem. You should
> takes 45 minutes, and one of my knees doesn't like
> that much bicycling. Driving takes 10 to 15 minutes.
> Maybe 20, if the freeway is jammed. So I usually
> drive. The pay-off is obvious: an hour saved each
try daily quadricep (thigh muscle) and hamstring (back of knee) stretches. I
do this quite often to keep the muscles stretched, especially before long
bike rides or downhill hikes. I started to do this after my knee badly
flamed during a downhill hike. I had a hard time walking home that night.
But keep fast walking (soft for knees), if you can't cycle much for now.
This is good for health and keeping activities will help curing health
problems faster, as long as you don't do the activity that hurts you, for
now. A sports doctor will give you good advice on what to do next.
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