Two walkshed questions

1. What is the furthest point to which you habitually walk?

2. What is the closest point to which you habitually drive or take public transportation, a taxi, or other conveyance?

16 responses to “Two walkshed questions”

  1. mike says :

    1. A library is about .7 miles away. I walk there, and to just about everything else in town (.3 to the pizza place/chinese food, .1 for emergency groceries, .3 for the drugstore, .3 to the coffee shop, .4 to the playground, etc.). I had a “go for a walk with the dog” route worked out that can be anywhere from 1 – 2 miles (loop), depending on how much time I had. Once I get outside of that radius, I’d have to jump to the six mile mark to get anywhere.

    2. I drive to a big grocery store that is just .4 – .5 miles away if I have a lot to get and/or if the weather is unpleasant.

    C. To get to places in the 6 mile-15 mile radius mark, I typically bike it.

  2. Chris says :

    I think you’re going to find out more about the make up of cities than about habits.

    1. Most walks seems to be half a mile – home to clapham junction train station, trafalgar square to work. I wouldn’t walk in central London for less than 4 tube stops.
    2. Most bus/train/tube journeys are into town – 4-6 miles – but the shortest bus journey I regularly get is home to Clapham Common, 1.2 miles.

    But it all depends on setting – how quickly do I need to get there, and what’s the weather like (and which tube lines are down).

  3. speedbird says :

    I think you’re going to find out more about the make up of cities than about habits.

    Heh heh heh. Maybe so!

  4. Abe Burmeister says :

    I max about 5 or 6 blocks in terms of locations where I consistently walk instead of bike. Exception is the JMZ train station which is about 10-15 minutes walk, but that’s an odd one, as when I’m heading to that *area* I tend to bike maybe 75% of the time, but when on my bike I’d just ride the bridge instead of taking the train. I also opt to walk to the book & magazine shops about 20 minutes away pretty frequently, but often bike over there too.

    In Manhattan sans bike & sans deadline, I often walk a few miles. 42nd st to the LES is probably the limit where choosing to walk is a common option, not an exception.

    All in all though I probably bike 70% of the time, Walk 20% of the time (not counting the trips on the block) with trains & cabs each getting about 5%.

  5. John Statistician says :

    1. I walk to and from work everyday. It’s about a half-hour each way (with only two crossings requiring a stoplight). Church is about 40 mins.

    2. The Mrs. will drive me a block if we have a potluck at the neighbor friend’s and are taking a few dishes. I’ll run home and back in 5 mins if we forget something I can run with.

  6. Christopher Fahey says :

    1) I walk .6 miles twice a day, to and from my subway station. As you know, I live in one of New York’s least subway-accessible neighborhoods. In Manhattan, anything less than 10 blocks (about .5 miles) is a default walk.

    It’s 1.4 miles round trip from my office to Popeye’s.

    2) My wife drives us to the grocery store once every two weeks, which is .7 miles away.

  7. igj says :

    1 – I walk the .7 miles to my local excellent video store, local art theater and to my local library with an alarming degree of regularity. I also walk the 1.2 miles to the much larger art theater pretty often. I go ‘for a walk’ – that is a leisurely recreational walk with no destination – of 1-2 miles several times a week, although that probably does not count.

    2 – I drive the 1.4 miles to Whole Foods all the time – but that is typically more a factor of carrying capacity than distance. On a rare occasion, I will drive the .5 miles to the local grocery giant. I used to take the bus 2.9 miles to my office – until I started to work in my backyard.

    But I am often seen as a freak for Los Angeles…

  8. Jamie says :

    “Habitually”? I’ll take this to mean a kind of insistence that’s automatic or rooted in semi-unthinking, ritualized personal activitiy (William James: Habit is “the enormous fly-wheel of society”) — indicative of our emotional attachments to certain elements of city life — rather than a calculated, narrrowly utilitarian choice about how best to cost out the trip or most efficiently allocate the resources of time, energy or money.

    1. Longest walk: 20 blocks away, about once a month, to see & talk to one of my oldest mentors. Why walk, when the subway would be quicker? Probably so that I can think carefully about the conversation, before and after. Similarly, whenever I visit any single bookstore downtown, I habitually end up walking to 2 or 3 others (also over approx. 20 blocks) . I become like a zombie who cannot stop shopping and thinking of additional volumes for which I suddenly “need” to look.

    2. Shortest subway ride: approx. 4 blocks away. Once a week. This represents the final part of the route from my workplace to my personal post office box. The snail-mail P.O. box itself is a sometimes burdensome or inefficient thing to retain. However, it is an element of my personal identity and I have a strong sentimental attachment to it. It has been my sole stable address over decades of nomadism within the same large city. It is last, shoebox-sized piece of Manhattan real estate to which I can lay any meaningful claim. So why compound the inefficiency by taking the subway to it, when hoofing it would often be quicker? Because I usually travel it on my lunch hour. Taking the subway FEELS like it will be quicker. And if a subway delay causes me to be late getting back to the office, it therefore is not my fault, right? Moreover, after leaving the P.O., I then can then justify giving myself a reward for the smarts & efficiency I evidenced by having taken the train — by walking around to a few bookstores.

    Apologies for the length.

  9. Ben Kraal says :

    Most weekdays I walk about 1.3km from the train station to work. Getting to the local station is a ~4km drive.

    Shortest driving distance is about 3.2km to the nearest supermarket.

    Of course, this is suburban, not urban.

  10. Luke says :

    I live in Cape Town and cycle to work up the Cape Peninsula, which is either a 67km or 95km round trip. The long route takes in a couple of mountains too.

    I do this because I like being fit and cycling fast, but also because I hate traffic. During rush hour, the car journey can take up to 90 minutes, whereas on the bike its never going to be more than 70 (short route – long route is around 100 minutes).

    When I cycle in, not only do I get to work, I also get:
    a) A sense of achievement before I even do anything in the office.
    b) Views from the top of Chapmans Peak, one of the most beautiful roads in the world.
    c) Hot and sweaty
    d) A nice afterglow where I’m quite chilled at my desk while everybody else stresses around me.
    d) A good nights rest.
    e) Cash saved on petrol and car maintenance.

  11. M+Y says :

    We have a 10-15 minute walking radius (around 1+ mile) drawn around our office. Anywhere within this circle is valid for lunchtime options. If it’s more than 2 subway stops we’ll hop a subway in one direction and walk back in the other. In general this works out to:
    1-2 subway stops away: walk
    2 subway stops: walk 1 way, subway the other
    2+ subway stops: subway both ways

  12. Vidiot says :

    I walk to work (4.25 miles) sometimes, when I have the time. But in the unthinking-routine sense of “habitual”, I guess it’d be maybe a mile and a half or so, usually crosstown.

    The shortest subway trip I usually take would be a couple stops from Columbus Circle down to Times Square — usually when I’m running short on time and am trying to catch a movie, or when I don’t want to deal with the theater/tourist crowds. That’s not terribly “habitual”, though — I’d say the shortest average subway trip is maybe a mile.

  13. J. Dunn says :

    I’m in Boston, and my habits tend to be seasonal. In summer, I’ll walk anything up to two miles unless time is a really constraining factor, in which case I’ll take the sunway. In the winter, that radius contracts down to about 3/4 of a mile. My shopping habits also change seasonally.. in summer I’ll walk the mile or so roundtrip to the store every couple of days, plus there are nearby farmer’s markets and such to walk to as well, but in winter I use a Zipcar once every couple of weeks and buy in bulk. My regular commute walk is about .5 miles to or from the station on each end, so I still end up with a baseline of about 2 miles walked a day regardless of season.

  14. James Luckett says :

    I live near the center of a university town, in which the university is the center of the town. I walk: 1 mile to work and back M-F. It is 1 mile to post office, downtown library, government offices, and restaurants, .2 mile to grocery and laundry, .5 mile to hardware store, .2 – 1 mile to various second hand shops, 2 miles to Amtrak station. Parks and walking forests are 1-3 miles away.

    So I walk in a 1 mile radius of my home most days, but three miles and back isn’t unusual. I’ve done this most of my life though, driving only during graduate school in Tucson. Considering renewing my license so to rent a car on occasion to visit friends who find themselves now also living in isolated small mid-west towns.

    I’ll take the city bus to the mall or big box stores if I need something now or can’t order from the internet, and its 30 minute airporter ride to the international airport.

  15. Derek says :

    The farthest point I regularly walk to is .9 mi (thanks, Google) to the coffee bar I go to about once a week. One mile is (currently) the approximate cutoff point where I switch from foot to transit (or car). Once I get a city bike, that will drop significantly. The farthest I drive habitually is 380 miles, between LA and SF, every week or two.

  16. AG says :

    Thanks, everyone, for these great answers – keep them coming. When I have enough, I’m going to gin up a visualization for the upcoming book that uses these figures to help define “walkshed,” and begins to explore the idea of walkshed extension.

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