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Commercial nodes surrounded by walkable neighborhoods are key

I try to fit as many errands as possible within a 20 minute bike ride from home.

Photo of Jordan Williams
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I try to do as much as I can within a 20 minute bike ride from home.   This includes grocery shopping, bars and restaurants, museums and cultural events, and commuting to and from work.  I am vastly more likely to shop somewhere if it is in a walkable area, as those spaces are so much more vibrant and enjoyable to be in. However when I do have to drive, I try and consolidate as many trips as I can into a single outing, reducing my total number of miles driven and trips taken.

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INDYCHALLENGE

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Photo of Jasmine Comer

Hi Jordan Williams ! I'm Jasmine, one of the online facilitators for this year's challenge. I can truly understand that. I would always frequent the Meijer near my house because it was in walking distance and save all my further longer trips to do at once. Do you find that when you have to drive it's because those things aren't available at a closer distance? or is it just a personal preference for things that you're willing to drive the distance for? Also are you more likely to frequent multiple stores/shops in a centralized area or will you drive varying distances for multiple stops?

Photo of Jordan Williams

Jasmine Comer , thanks for asking! Yes, when I have to drive it's either because those things aren't available at a closer distance, or they're in a development that isn't friendly for non-automobile trips. Case-in-point, Glendale is a distance I could bike easily, but crossing Keystone at 62nd is challenging, as the bike lane/trail disappears crossing the intersection. To be honest though, a lot of times it's just that I need something quickly to finish a project, so I choose to take the fast route and just drive out and back (to Lowes for instance) to get it over with. If there was a neighborhood hardware store like the Ace at 38th and Illinois closer to me, I'd certainly be more likely to go there on foot or bike. I'm all in favor of more frequent but smaller footprint stores for this very reason, although I do know those tend to be more expensive, which makes it a challenge for many.

If I do have to drive, I am more likely to frequent multiple stores/shops in a centralized area, but that's the Catch-22: putting all those amenities together usually means they aren't in a neighborhood setting where people can get there by bike/walk easily, so they kindof lead to a vicious cycle of requiring a car. Not to mention, most transit stops seem to be at the perimeter of the shopping development, so they aren't particularly friendly for transit riders either. If the stores were along the actual street and the parking lot is moved to the back of the lot, it would be a lot nicer for bikes/peds/transit users, while still providing parking for those who choose to drive.

Photo of Jasmine Comer

Jordan Williams thanks for responding! I do understand the dilemma of traveling to the store via public transit. I've had so many frightening experiences just crossing the parking lot alone.

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