The Crystal City shops are cool, though -- you can get to a lot of them through underground passageways. However, I think that they're all one level, plus some of the restaurants and whatnot are above ground.
There's also the Ballston Common mall, which has several stories and a sort of back entrance for parking. You can arrive by Metro and not even cross a street, let alone a parking lot.
There's also the Shops At Georgetown (I think that's what they call it), which doesn't look like anything until you walk inside and see all the stores.
This is a great way to lay out retail strips. You have a big arterial road out front that feeds the parking lots. Then you have all the shops. If there are bike/ped entrances to the rear, that means they can connect to the nearby residential neighborhoods and thus to the alternate routes favored by many cyclists.
My wife's cousin and I work at the same place. It is 7 miles each way for me and about 9 for him. He has seen me commute by bike for a few years. He used to laugh at me and call me "Schwinn Armstrong". It was good natured kidding. Till his yearly physical; he was told he was very very unhealthy. Blood pressure, body weight, on and on. He bought a bike at the pawn shop and outfitted it by asking me a bunch of questions, and also picking the brain of the guy at the bike shop. Now he rides whenever the weather is decent; which is more often than not in Spring and Summer. He is loving it. It's amazing how many people have, and COULD have such dramatic lifestyle changes if they were somehow forced, or nudged enough to do it. 9 miles seemed like a big hassle to him until the doctor told him he wouldn't outlive his two young kids if he didn't make changes.
I have less issue with a parking garage than with the typical acres and acres of single level surface parking. IMHO they are still an expensive waste of real estate but at least the density is improved and you can build them below ground under retail space or above ground and put retail space on the ground floor for the people that walk.
Good story, slowjoe66. We all have our own reasons for cycling. For some, it's health and for others it's about environmental responsibility, concern about rising fuel prices, a love of the bike or something else. When I see or hear of people beginning to cycle, my hope is that it quickly turns into something pleasant and positive for them. Once that happens, they will look forward to cycling and they will continue with it for many years.
The other strange phenomenon involves those huge malls. When we first got married, my wife would drive around the parking lot looking for a really close space, often taking 10-15 minutes doing so if the mall was crowded. I always just park at the first spot I see, even if it's far out, and just walk.
But the bizarre part to me is that we would then go inside and proceed to walk around for the rest of the day. So that extra 50 feet in the parking lot is a deal breaker, but walking like 5 miles inside the mall is nothing.
It's all about perception. Reality is so different for different people.
My wife has long since seen the light, but her previous attitude is fairly typical of mall goers.
A lot of people ask me how far I bike to work. If I say "four miles" they think I'm a martyr. If I say "15 minutes" they think I live only a couple blocks away. (Of course, both answers are accurate.)
The hotel I stay at in SC is not in a pedestrian friendly area at all. It is a 1/2 mile to the nearest grocery store, a very walkable distance...however that includes having to cross a 6 lane highway with no pedestrian crosswalks or lights (I think it is actually safer to cross in the middle of the block) and almost a 1/4 mile of walking across a huge parking lot to get to the front door of the store.
I'll sometimes refer to Harvey Avenue in Kelowna as "The World's Longest Strip Mall." The road is part of Highway 97 and it has commercial developments from one end of the city to the other. The sidewalks are in place, but getting around by foot is going to be a long chore since every shop or mall has its own extensive parking lot.
The ironic part of this is Kelowna has a beautiful downtown area which is almost unnoticed. It also has a great system of bike lanes.
The Central Okanagan Regional District and the City of Kelowna have been working hard over the last few years to promote cleaner transportation, including cycling. I applaud their efforts but the biggest hurdle will be Harvey Avenue.
About perception, people who only drive don't realize there are other routes to take from point A to point B when they're used to the "convenient" car trip. I tell people I bike from downtown to the suburb where I work, and they think I'm absolutely insane. It's ~15 miles on the highways. It makes a little more sense to them once I explain I ride through town, quiet residential areas with the occasional coffee shop or park, and it's half that distance.
Also agree with the stigma that walking or biking means you're poor. The other day a girl told me I didn't have to throw in for a co-worker's present because she thought I didn't have the money (since I apparently can't afford to drive and I pack my lunch.) I said, "Are you kidding? I have next to no expenses! I set it up like that on purpose so I can spend money on silly stuff without stressing about where my rent money's coming from!"
When I was a kid, the woman next door used to do this. She only rode when the weather was fair but the distance was about the same. She was a somewhat overweight middle-aged mother of three. This was in Finland in the 80s and cycling that distance wasn't considered anything that special. (Let me tell you that someone looking like her was not mistaken for superman or even the bionic woman.) She probably did get a lot of 'must be good exercise' comments. Just goes to show that you really don't have to be in a good shape. The trip will just take a little more time at first.Quote:
My last job I commuted 32 miles round trip and people there thought I was superman.
This sums it up for me. A friend works at Genentech in South San Francisco (a distinctly different city from SF - 10 miles south) and lives above the Safeway at 4th/King St in San Francisco. I expressed my astonishment that she didn't take the train to work, she is across the street from the train station. It's a 15 minute train ride to SSF, and I knew the company had a shuttle that would meet the train there and take her to the front door.
I decided I was going to scope out the logistics for her. I googled "Genentech Caltrain Shuttle" and what came up confused me. Finally I figured it out. In addition to the shuttles that run from the South San Francisco station, Genentech has a corporate shuttle that picks up at the San Francisco Caltrain station and runs directly to Genentech. The pickup spot is closer to her front door than her parking spot at home, the dropoff spot is at the front door of her office, which is obviously closer than wherever she would park. Four departures every morning and afternoon.
You had some good topics gerv. :)
Where we live now, a lot of people walk and cycle to and from work, and elsewhere. There are a lot who don't, of course, but I've been a bit surprised by the numbers who do. I thought, for example, I might be the only one walking home from downtown across the bridge, but I'm not. There has been another woman out there just about every day ... plus several others who have been out now and then. And the cyclists come by in a steady stream.
Parking downtown is limited, so there are quite a few people who drive in from some distance away, park on the outskirts of the downtown area, and walk in from there ... maybe 2 or 3 km.
And at lunch, a lot of people walk ... the downtown sidewalks, malls and shopping centres are chock full of people.
One or two miles is certainly a walkable distance, if I have the time. Riding a bike is quicker. I'll easily hike 5-10 miles. I ride my bike to work most days, 4.5 miles. None of my co-workers ride a bike to work but they are not slouches. All of them are archaeologists and during the field season when they are in the field they routinely walk 5-10 miles per day for a session that can last up to 9 days.