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  #41  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 1:22 PM
eixample eixample is offline
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Having lived for many years without a car in both Philly and New York, I can attest that biking in Philly is much more liberating and works as a car/transit replacement. Pretty dense core, flat terrain, narrow streets. It doesn't work for most of course. People who live and work in Center City really don't need to bike, drive or take transit for almost every trip. The biggest impediment to more people going carless here in my opinion is that the city of Philadelphia holds too small of a proportion of the city's jobs compared to the suburbs partly due to the city's bad-for-business tax structure. That leads many people in dense neighborhoods to own a car pretty much exclusively to get to and from their job site in the suburbs.
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  #42  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 3:04 PM
Jonesy55 Jonesy55 is offline
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I have a real problem with weighting these equally.

With all due respect to Steely, the bike score doesn't matter. Transit matters most and walk score is a close second. A very, very small minority of people uses or even considers bicycling as a form of transportation (rather than recreation).
In large and mid-size cities transit is the most important, distances are often too large for most people to consider walking/cycling. That said, any journey that can be walked can be cycled pretty much, just more quickly by bike, and the extra speed enables some longer distances too.

If you are talking towns and small cities then walking/cycling can be a very useful option if they are compact enough that cycling can get you most places in a reasonable time. From the last UK census I seem to recall that the highest combined shares for walking/cycling to work were found in small towns to mid sized cities, urban areas from 25,000-500,000. Larger than that and distances are too great, smaller than that and too many people have to travel to another urban area altogether for work so that reduces the proportions walking/cycling.

Average walk/cycle commuting share for towns and cities in that 25,000-500,000 range was around 10% but there were plenty of examples in the 15-25% band.
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  #43  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 3:15 PM
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biking can certainly expand one's transportation radius if you don't have a car. i live 5 miles from work, it's about a 20-25 minute bike ride depending on the weather, traffic, and other intangibles.

if i were to walk that distance, it would take around 1.5 hours, and that's just not a practical commute time that works for most people.

but 20 minutes? yeah, that's a perfectly workable commute time, PLUS i get in a little exercise every morning and every afternoon. two birds, meet one stone.

if you can make bike commuting work for you, it'll be one of the smartest moves you'll ever make.
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Last edited by Steely Dan; Feb 17, 2017 at 3:41 PM.
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  #44  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 3:17 PM
Crawford Crawford is online now
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Originally Posted by Jonesy55 View Post
In large and mid-size cities transit is the most important, distances are often too large for most people to consider walking/cycling.
A useful ranking for major cities should be weighted as transit>walking>>>biking. You generally need good transit to replace driving, because people commute across considerable distances.

Perhaps in small cities it should be walking>biking>transit since distances are so small. Somewhere like Bruges or Venice obviously are walking cities. But walking and biking will never replace autos in major world cities.
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  #45  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 3:29 PM
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A significant and growing number of people in my office bike to work, including a few year round. Not millenials either but people in their 40s with kids who work in management. In parts of central Toronto served by streetcar / buses it's almost always faster than transit or driving. For me it's 20 minutes compared to 35-45 (dependent on traffic). Of course if you live near a subway line that will be the fastest by far.

Obviously transit and walkable environments are the most important, but biking is increasingly in the mix now.
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  #46  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 3:37 PM
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Perhaps Miami is more walkable because they include the beaches as well. And in the south it's more walkable in the winter regardless of it's street walkability.
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  #47  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 5:08 PM
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Perhaps Miami is more walkable because they include the beaches as well. And in the south it's more walkable in the winter regardless of it's street walkability.
you should try walking here in the summer...
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  #48  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 5:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Pedestrian View Post
San Francisco's transit policy, largey met, is to have no citizens more than 2 blocks from a transit stop and, generally, once on a transit vehicle you can get to your destination with no more than 1 transfer.
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It's currently mandated that ETS (which provides for the City of Edmonton and some commuter services, and includes the majority of Edmonton's sprawl) have a bus stop within 400m of every house
This is really a useless standard, because it doesn't tell you anything about frequency and efficiency of the bus lines.

Two real life examples:

City of Sherbrooke, QC (metro area of ~200,000) where I grew up. There are plenty of bus stops and bus lines, but they don't always go directly where you'd like to go, and they don't pass that often. If you have to wait half an hour, you might as well just start walking towards your destination.

I had a bus stop some 50 m from my house that offered a bunch of the more useful lines, and I would still often find myself deciding "meh, screw that, I'll walk, it won't be much longer anyway".

Second example, Amarillo, TX, where I lived for the summer in '15, and was without a vehicle for a good chunk of that time. The bus network is hub-spoke, actually shaped like a daisy, with the outline of each petal being a "loop" that goes the the edge of the city then back to downtown.

So, if you're on the side of the loop that goes out, you have to hop on that bus, go all the way to the edge of the city, then back to downtown, then wait for your one transfer to another petal, which might take a long time BTW, and hopefully on that one you'll be on the way out, not on the way back...

Such a model can check both the "everyone has a bus stop within 1 block of their house" and "everyone can reach their destination with no more than 1 transfer" and yet can still be extremely inefficient, as I experienced.

For the record, I walked all the time in Amarillo - sometimes up to 1 hour to my destination (typically, from my place in San Jacinto, out west, to the diesel repair shop that was in an industrial area in the eastern end) in spite of having a bus line passing right next to my place.

I took the bus a couple times, then realized it was much quicker to just walk!
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  #49  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 6:13 PM
Jonesy55 Jonesy55 is offline
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If a place has limited numbers of buses though the people living there will tend to know when they leave I think. If you know the hourly bus leaves at 12 minutes past the hour you'll turn up at the bus stop at 5-10 past, not at 20-past...
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  #50  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 7:04 PM
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If a place has limited numbers of buses though the people living there will tend to know when they leave I think. If you know the hourly bus leaves at 12 minutes past the hour you'll turn up at the bus stop at 5-10 past, not at 20-past...
Yeah, but it doesn't address the problem that your bus line that picks you up extremely close to your house and drops you off extremely close to your final destination will carry your ass for an odyssey across a good chunk of the greater city before it drops you off where you want to go.

Maybe that's a bit insensitive of me, but I quickly labeled the transit system "designed for people on welfare in wheelchairs". Sure, it will take you from very close to your home to very close to your destination, you will barely have to walk, and you will need a absolute max of 1 transfer to get there in any case (due to the hub-and-spoke design), and all of that for only 75 cents including transfers (which is what it did cost back in 2015), but the one downside - and it's a big one - is that it will take you the entire afternoon to get there.
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  #51  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 7:21 PM
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Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
This is really a useless standard, because it doesn't tell you anything about frequency and efficiency of the bus lines.
For the record, SF busses on the most heavily used lines come as often as every 4 minutes during rush hour. It's more like every 10 - 15 minutes on other lines. The real problem comes between midnight and 5 AM when there is reduced service, often coming only once an hour.

See https://www.sfmta.com/getting-around...requency-guide

As for efficiency, like most of the streets, the bus lines mostly follow a grid. If your direct route is the hypotenuse of a triangle, you may have to ride the other 2 sides but that is as indirect as it gets. Transit rides from the outer western edges of the city to downtown can take over an hour (about 7 miles at 8 miles an hour average speed) but I am used to most rides being less than ½ an hour, some a matter of minutes.

Here's another statistic I just came across. The average San Franciscan boards a transit vehicle 272 times per year (source: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/articl...s-10939013.php ). That seems like pretty heavy usage for an average, especially since a lot of people can walk to work in this compact city.
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  #52  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 7:38 PM
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This is the other nuance. Detroit has basically the same % of car-free households as Chicago or SF, but Detroit has a fairly awful transit system. Obviously Detroit has a significant proportion of non-choice car-free households.

Middle class or wealthy areas with modest vehicle ownership and/or high transit ridership are probably a better proxy for transit quality.
Here's another consideration. With SF in the lead I believe, some cities are making car ownership very difficult even for the wealthy. SF's Planning Department, which must approve nearly all new buildings, now mandates far fewer than 1 parking space per unit in new muti-family housing and the city now also requires that parking be sold or rented separately from dwelling units (which means the carless needn't buy a parking space and dwelling units are cheaper by as much as several hundred thousand dollars than they otherwise would be). Given also the fact that in the areas where the city's new highrise condo/apartment buildings are going up, there is very little street parking, it can become very difficult for many people buying condos for $1.5 million and up to have a car. To compensate, many of these buildings have on-site parking for car-sharing services like ZipCar and the local fave, City Carshare, and they also have city mandated lockable/guarded parking for hundreds of bikes.
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  #53  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 8:32 PM
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Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
Maybe that's a bit insensitive of me, but I quickly labeled the transit system "designed for people on welfare in wheelchairs".
To be fair, that's transit in most of the U.S. Outside of a few major cities, and some college towns, the U.S. transit-riding demographic tends to be poor and/or disabled.
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  #54  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 8:38 PM
Jonesy55 Jonesy55 is offline
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From the US census bureau figures. Cities from 20,000-100,000 population with combined walk/cycle modal commuting share over 12.5%. Most look to me to be college towns.

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  #55  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 8:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Pedestrian View Post
With SF in the lead I believe, some cities are making car ownership very difficult even for the wealthy. SF's Planning Department, which must approve nearly all new buildings, now mandates far fewer than 1 parking space per unit in new muti-family housing and the city now also requires that parking be sold or rented separately from dwelling units (which means the carless needn't buy a parking space and dwelling units are cheaper by as much as several hundred thousand dollars than they otherwise would be).
NYC has basically banned new parking in Manhattan since the 1970's. You can still get a special permit for limited parking if you get a variance, and demonstrate a need, but most new buildings over the past 40 years have no parking.

In the Outer Boroughs, some neighborhoods close to Manhattan have no parking requirements, a few neighborhoods have 1/2 space:1 unit requirements, and further out, 1:1 requirements. Smaller buildings are exempted from any requirements.

But it's still not that hard for wealthy people to own a car, if they choose to. Every neighborhood has some parking facilities (usually in a few remaining side-street garages or highrise buildings built during the postwar era). I doubt any Manhattan residence is more than a few blocks from a parking option.
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  #56  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 8:44 PM
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From the US census bureau figures. Cities from 20,000-100,000 population with combined walk/cycle modal commuting share over 12.5%. Most look to me to be college towns.

Yeah, these are almost all small college towns.

I attended Cornell undergrad, and Ithaca is very walkable/bikeable. You have two universities, and probably half the student population is from the general NYC area, so many students are used to a car-free life. Most students don't have cars.

Oh, and Kiryas Joel would be an exception. No college in Kiryas Joel; it's a 100% Hasidic Jewish suburb of NYC. Hasidic Jews will only have men driving and tend to use private bus lines for longer trips (there's a whole private bus network in the NYC area, connecting Hasidic communities).
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  #57  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 8:57 PM
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^^ROTFL. Twentynine Palms, CA. # of people who rode bikes: 3

This is a Marine Corps training base in the Mojave where it hits 120 degrees F in summer. Biking or walking requires you to be hard core for sure but fortunately most people who live there are.
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  #58  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 9:01 PM
Jonesy55 Jonesy55 is offline
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Riding a bike to work in Key West must be a nice commute.
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  #59  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 9:41 PM
Jonesy55 Jonesy55 is offline
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Oh, and Kiryas Joel would be an exception. No college in Kiryas Joel; it's a 100% Hasidic Jewish suburb of NYC. Hasidic Jews will only have men driving and tend to use private bus lines for longer trips (there's a whole private bus network in the NYC area, connecting Hasidic communities).
I guess it's difficult to ride a bike in Hasidic dress!
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  #60  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 9:44 PM
Jonesy55 Jonesy55 is offline
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Same thing for cities of 100,000-200,000 population. Not many over 12.5% here so I've gone down to 4%

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