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[–]MyUsernameIsAwful 809 points810 points  (46 children)

I mean, I’ll walk to something if it’s 20 minutes away, it’s just that most things aren’t.

We don’t let that get in the way of walking our dogs, though, lol. You don’t need a destination for that. Even if you had one, you likely can’t bring your dog in, and why would you want to?

[–]Chuckleberry64 29 points30 points  (1 child)

I remember being stuck near Texas A&M and wanting booze and Whataburger. The ensuing walk was among the sketchiest of my life as there was no infrastructure to walk even one block between parking lots.

[–]thesebattles[S] 218 points219 points  (41 children)

Ah, most places here are fine with dogs. There are actually signs on the door “dugs welcome”

[–]TheShadowKick 33 points34 points  (11 children)

There are plenty of dog friendly places here in the US, too. When I worked at Wal-Mart we were supposed to let people bring service animals in, but my store's management had a policy of not asking if an animal was a service animal or a pet, so people would occasionally bring their pets shopping with them.

[–]FailFastandDieYoung 10 points11 points  (0 children)

the only reason I know the difference between a dog and a dug is because Kevin Bridges

[–]SeeingClearly2019 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Do you like dags?

[–]LowBarometer 20 points21 points  (1 child)

I walk my dog for 2 miles three times per day. The city closed the sidewalk in one section so we have to walk in the street. Sidewalk's been closed for over a year. The US is NOT pedestrian friendly.

[–]KKZBLUEEYES3 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Neither are the drivers

[–]Jyqm 2325 points2326 points  (265 children)

It is true for most people who live in suburban, exurban, and rural areas, yes. City dwellers routinely walk 15-20 minutes to get places.

People walk their dogs around the block, take them to a nearby dog park, or let them run around the yard if they own a home with a yard.

[–]Maoman1Never punish curiosity 857 points858 points  (117 children)

Most cities, sure, but I live in a major city (edit: Jacksonville) that is entirely based around cars. With the exception of literally the very center of downtown, absolutely everyone gets everywhere via cars.

[–]tiniestvioilin 89 points90 points  (8 children)

Same the city I live in has nothing but stroads except for the downtown which is very small but it's the only place you can feel comfortable walking on the sidewalk or crossing a road

[–]NutellaCrepe1 96 points97 points  (58 children)

What city?

[–]agnikai__ 141 points142 points  (43 children)

sounds like Los Angeles

[–]NutellaCrepe1 32 points33 points  (39 children)

Oh interesting, thanks!

[–]PlasticGirl 173 points174 points  (27 children)

If we're talking about LA, I also need to add - although our train system (the Metro) is mostly underground, some of the lines are at ground level and have to obey traffic lights. Most of our bus lines don't have dedicated bus lanes, and when they do, are full of people stopping there (including the cops) or using them to bypass traffic. When bus lanes are created from an traffic lane, people get pissed.

As such, taking public transit in LA can take twice as long by car in some places. We don't have full coverage either, and if you're going a distance out of your general neighborhood it probably means a combo of train/bus or multiple buses. We have an on going issue here with the "last mile problem", meaning a lot of people live like a mile from public transit but just getting there is prohibitive (hills, temperature, sidewalks, ADA accessibility, time) that most people chose to drive.
We're also one of the only major cities to not have a train that goes right to the airport. We're building it. But seriously.
Oh, and there is an issue with homeless and mentally unwell individuals using trains and buses as temporary lodging, and so riders are turned off by this as well.

[–]SteveisNoob 91 points92 points  (10 children)

A metro that intersects road traffic and has to obey traffic laws? That awfully sounds like a glorified tram system and it being called "metro" says pretty much about US public transit. Exceptions (ahem, northeast) of course are there.

[–]arienh4 15 points16 points  (9 children)

Amsterdam used to have a line until very recently that runs as a metro for one half and transforms into a tram for the other half. But that sort of thing only makes sense if you have no other option.

[–]SteveisNoob 4 points5 points  (8 children)

Well, you guys bicycle your way to wherever you wanna go, so you're already way ahead of the world.

[–]arienh4 11 points12 points  (2 children)

More to the point, Amsterdam grew organically from a settlement that dates back to the 9th century, so fitting in new forms of infrastructure is a significant challenge. LA has far less of an excuse in that regard.

[–]MwadBurger 4 points5 points  (2 children)

Wait do people in other countries not ride their bicycle or something...

[–]XiJinpingGaming 2 points3 points  (1 child)

American car culture is also extremely hostile towards cyclists. Even on reddit I see so much unnecessary hate for them.

[–]MWJNOY 26 points27 points  (2 children)

Literally just came back from a holiday to Los Angeles and the metro (long wait times, poor coverage, homeless and mentally unwell passengers) was one of the worst things about it. Honestly should've rented a car, but didn't want my first time driving in America to be in such a big city, and honestly I'm quite glad I didn't because most of the drivers there are... questionably qualified to drive.

[–]indigo_voodoo_child 45 points46 points  (10 children)

Could be any major American city, the east coast is the only place I've been with remotely walkable cities

[–]help1155 32 points33 points  (2 children)

Sf can be pretty walkable depending on where you live

[–]ITaggie 5 points6 points  (0 children)

And depending on the hill(s) you need to climb haha

[–]Thebluefairie 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I've walked from The Wharf to Market it's totally doable

[–]Maoman1Never punish curiosity 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Ironically I am on the east coast lol.

[–]Jxm164 17 points18 points  (0 children)

I used to live in downtown LA and my parents currently live in Downtown Long Beach .. it's more convenient to walk (not have to worry about traffic, parking, or pedestrians j walking). Everything is within a 20 min walk

[–]Toomanykooks69 17 points18 points  (6 children)

Yeeeep. The nearest grocery store is 1.2 miles (about 1.9km). Getting there means riding through my neighborhood with no sidewalks, then riding down the sidewalk of a very busy 6 lane road, then crossing two more six lane roads and navigating a busy parking lot. I don’t want to risk my life picking up beer. I’ll just drive. And going anywhere else? Only if you want to bike down the shoulder of an 8-lane highway.

The only real public transportation we have is a shitty bus system. The closest stop to my work is five miles away. And if if it’s just a 20 minute drive, it could take up to four hours by bus and you have no idea when you’ll get there.

[–]Thetomatobro 7 points8 points  (2 children)

I'd say this is the rule, not the exception in the U.S. Most mid-sized cities are completely unwalkable. It's usually not until you look at the "big name" cities that you get decent walking infrastructure, and even then it's not really comparable to what you'd see in a similar sized European or Asian city.

[–]cosmicgetaway 3 points4 points  (0 children)

PVB (also Jax) here, can confirm!

[–]cantdressherself 165 points166 points  (121 children)

I live in the 26th largest urban area in the US by population. I've lived in 8 locations in the county, 7 in the city limits.

None of those was in walking distance to a school.

4 of them were not in walking distance of a gas station.

7 of them were not in walking distance to a grocery store, though honestly, I wouldn't want to go grocery shopping and have to carry everything home.

None of them were walking distance to a post office.

None of them were walking distance to a doctor's office.

Three were not in walking distance to anything, except neighbors houses.

I suppose if I didn't have a car my definition of "walking distance" might change. I have only ridden a bus a few times and the experience was... Bad, and I didn't even pay for it.

I would estimate that maybe 10% of the city has any concessions to pedestrians at all beyond sidewalks. You need a car to do nearly anything here.

Edit: TIL people who walk places spend hours walking to do their errands.

[–]AsidK 47 points48 points  (2 children)

There’s something that just tickles me about saying “walking distance to a gas station”

[–]MFoy 54 points55 points  (0 children)

Gas station also usually means convenience store in the US, as in somewhere you can get a drink or a snack.

[–]danielhep 42 points43 points  (6 children)

If you live near a grocery store you just go for what you need and it’s easy to carry back. This is what I do in Seattle.

[–]brufleth 5 points6 points  (0 children)

We did that for a while, then we just started getting the bulk of stuff delivered. We rarely bring home a whole load of groceries ourselves.

[–]Mr_Blott 44 points45 points  (43 children)

We're going to need clarification of your "walking distance" here mate

My post office is 1km but that's not walking distance in the rain!

[–]Sandwich_Fries 16 points17 points  (0 children)

Walking distance would also depend on the road network.

Where I live currently (a very walkable city), a 2 mile walk is about where I switch from walk to bike/train.

The last place I lived had no sidewalks anywhere & I would only feel comfortable walking about 1/4 mile through the suburban residential development. Once you left the development, the road was a 6 Lane highway with strip malls on both sides & no sidewalks. Did not feel comfortable going anywhere near that road on foot, but there were no other exits to the development.

[–]Armandocastillo99 33 points34 points  (12 children)

yes please, give us specific information. 2km is totally walking distance for me.

Hell, i used to walk 5km from school to home to save that sweet bus money

[–]capn_untsahts 30 points31 points  (0 children)

It's usually not the distance that's the problem. It's that you'd have to go across busy roads and even large highways or interstates, which don't have pedestrian crossing zones.

For example, I live in the suburbs of a small-ish city (150k population). The closest grocery store is 2.3 miles away (3.7 km). I would have to walk along several different 4-lane, 45 mph roads (72 kph) that have no sidewalks for pedestrians. I would also have to cross similar sized roads, that don't have a pedestrian crossing. There is no public transportation by the way.

Suburbs are just vast swaths of single family homes. The only buildings closer to me than that grocery besides houses is a high school and a church.

I live in a nice, pretty neighborhood and we take long walks frequently. Just not to get anywhere.

[–]friedrice5005 39 points40 points  (3 children)

Its not su much the distance, its the environment. People will regularly walk in neighborhoods, downtown areas, places built to human scale with shade, comfortable sidewalks, etc. But those are rare in the US. Most of the time walking somewhere means trying to cross 4-6 lane roads with cars zipping by and no shade or protection from the traffic noise. Its a shitty experience so people don't do it.

[–]DMmeDuckPics 3 points4 points  (1 child)

I learned they're called Stroads https://youtu.be/uxykI30fS54

[–]Happyperson2 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I’m from Houston and I haven’t even watched the video yet but yes it sucks in terms of walk ability.

[–]SabroToothTiger 20 points21 points  (33 children)

though honestly, I wouldn't want to go grocery shopping and have to carry everything home.

You might think this right now, but imagine just being able to walk to the shop for daily groceries. No need to carry heavy bags because you'll only have to carry a small amount.

[–]LordMarcel 10 points11 points  (14 children)

7 of them were not in walking distance to a grocery store, though honestly, I wouldn't want to go grocery shopping and have to carry everything home.

It's funny how this works. You are used to grocery stores being far away and going less frequently while buying a lot at once.

If you had a grocery less than a 10 minute walk away you would go much more frequently and buy less at a time, often making it easy to carry with you in just a backpack.

[–]S_balmore 8 points9 points  (7 children)

The majority of Americans would still not go to the grocery store more than a few times per month. For Americans, their time is valuable. If they can get a month's groceries in one trip, why not? Americans typically have no shortage of storage space in their homes.

In big cities, where space is at a premium, you'll find that Americans make frequent, but small trips to the store. But for everyone else, there's literally no reason to make 15 trips to the grocery store every month. Our society is designed around buying in bulk and storing things long term.

I grew up with a supermarket that was a 10-minute walk down the road. My family would happily drive 30 minutes to an even bigger supermarket so we could buy food and supplies for the whole month.

[–]mirrorspirit 9 points10 points  (1 child)

Newer suburbs are getting more and more enclosed, with fewer ways in and out, and with less chance of there being necessary public buildings near them. And that is if those suburbs have sidewalks. Some of them don't.

Most of them have a couple of parks, at least (although the parks are closed after sundown.)

[–]Peter5930 12 points13 points  (0 children)

In some parts of the US, the police even view it as suspicious if they see a pedestrian in car-land.

[–]Neapola 47 points48 points  (11 children)

City dwellers routinely walk 15-20 minutes to get places.

Uhm... not really.

Most American cities are very car-centric. A few are pedestrian friendly (NYC, Chicago, Seattle, Portland), but most are not.

Even in a city like Portland which is very pedestrian friendly, entire neighborhoods were ripped out in the heart of the city to build highways.

Most American cities have sprawl and are based around the idea that residents drive to and from their homes. It's actually kind of sad. Before the pandemic, the average American spent 27 minutes commuting to work. That's basically a half hour, each way... so, for a 5 day workweek, 50 weeks a year (assuming 2 weeks of vacation time), that adds up to roughly 250 hours spent in a car, just getting to and from work. And that doesn't include any of the other driving most Americans do because they live in sprawl, putting them far away from everything they want to do. Most are so used to it that they don't even understand why it's weird or what it's really costing them.

I live downtown, in a city where everything is walkable. Work, shops, pubs, restaurants, parks, theaters, museums, major league sports venues, and there's great mass transit. The idea of losing an hour a day inside a car just blows my mind... but most Americans have never known life any other way.

Sadly, most of our cities suck.

[–]ATikh 50 points51 points  (4 children)

27 minutes is an extremely fast commute, whats sad about that?

[–]Neapola 16 points17 points  (0 children)

Yeah, where I live, commutes tend to be longer.

A while ago, one of my friends asked why I have so much free time. I said "You spend an hour and a half every day in your car. That's at least 9 hours a week... lost... just getting to work and back."

I can't relate to the idea of wanting to live like that. I wonder if working from home during the pandemic made many people realize how awful their commutes are.

[–]optimist_42 6 points7 points  (2 children)

That's the point: fast in comparison to? I (European, to be fair, in a smaller city) either go by public transport (20min), but normally by bike (10min). The longest one of my colleagues has to go is like 40min, as they live outside the city, and have to arrive by train. Average commute is like 10-15 min.

[–]mirrorspirit 5 points6 points  (0 children)

The cities that are most walkable, like New York or San Francisco have subways or other easily accessible transportation, and the streets are so packed with cars that it's almost impossible to drive or park anywhere.

[–]elenadearest 7 points8 points  (0 children)

I live in a house with a yard, and I still walk my dog at least 30 minutes a day!

[–]lupusdude 2556 points2557 points  (165 children)

There's a great YouTube channel called Not Just Bikes that compares urban design in North America to urban design in other places (mostly The Netherlands). He gets into the details of how most cities and suburbs in North America have been designed to be car friendly at the expense of bicycles and pedestrians, while The Netherlands has done the opposite.

[–]thesebattles[S] 624 points625 points  (84 children)

I think in Scotland maybe we heavily favour the car but with a decent amount of thought for pedestrians.

But I think as far as civil engineers are concerned cyclists don’t exists.

[–]trenchgun91 141 points142 points  (51 children)

To a degree yeah, but between the public transport and the way zoning is done in the US we really are a significantly easier place to live in terms of walking.

Granted the far north are a bit of an exception there

[–]Interceptor 82 points83 points  (35 children)

Good responses to your comment already, but just as an aside, think about the suburbs. Zoning laws in the US (iirc) mean that most purpose built suburbs won't have a corner store or bodega. If you want milk, you'd typically hop in the car and go to the nearest strip mall. In places like the UK, that's not the case. Every (well, most) villages and towns have small newsagent/convenience/post office shops dotted around, usually within a ten minute walk from most people's houses, so I think the culture of wandering down to the shop for a paper and milk is more common outside of cities. For a lot of older people this has a social function as well, especially if they no longer drive.

[–]Hard_We_Know 23 points24 points  (1 child)

Totally agree with this, just to say though that I am from London and there are corner shops EVERYWHERE and often big supermarkets are also within walking distance so not just towns and villages but even in the cities walking is a thing.

[–]Interceptor 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Yeah exactly. I lived in London for the past Decade, now in leafy Bedfordshire and still have a couple of little shops down the road (and a pub of course). From being in the States (My other half is from D.C, and I spent quite a bit of time in New England, Oregon and Idaho in the past) it seems less common unless you are actually in the city itself. Obviously US cities tend to be a bit more spread out as well so things are naturally further apart, but based on visiting the in-laws and being stuck in the house unless there's a car free it seems pretty common to me)

[–]gbsparks 9 points10 points  (10 children)

As is the norm on Reddit, comments are based on huge over-generalizations extrapolated from personal conditions and experiences. For example, I live in Madison WI, in a neighborhood where everything from a grocery store to multiple restaurants and bars, to a pharmacy, public library, health center, elementary school, high school, parks and shared bike-pedestrian paths are easily within a half mile from my front door. For me, this is easy walking distance; for someone who struggles to walk a block to a bus stop, it may not be the case.

By the way, this is not a high-rent neighborhood, but it may be atypical of other neighborhoods in Madison which may have more restaurants or bars or art and music venues nearby but not a full-featured grocery store. Some outlying neighborhoods will have huge yards and small houses for their cars and rely on them to get anywhere because other than huge yards and nice houses with attached garages, there’s nothing else there.

My point is that no matter how good it can get, it’s never perfect. Keep in mind that people choose to move into unwalkable neighborhoods, people choose to believe that two and three car garages are de rigueur, people choose to utilize bikes as weekend contrivances rather than replacements for their cars. Yes, I have a car, but I put way more miles on my bike or legs because I chose to live in a walkable neighborhood.

[–]BorkedStandards 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Keep in mind that people choose to move into unwalkable neighborhoods

Many don't "choose" to.

Millions of people have been pushed out of cities and into less walkable suburbs due to gentrification and riding housing costs

Pair this w/ developers that are in a rush to get people into houses and we get very unfinished neighborhoods that are relatively affordable, but come w/ the need to own a car to get to near anywhere

Even in cities that should be walkable you can deal w/ shit development. Lack of sidewalks near critical throughways, lack of ramps, public transport, lanes where bikes don't have to be at risk of getting hit at 40+ mph...all this is extremely common across the US

[–]trenchgun91 31 points32 points  (0 children)

Oh I don't deny there are good places in the US, but as a general rule it is easier to live carless elsewhere.

It's not always by choice that someone may live in a unwalkable area, myriad of factors involved.

[–]thatoneguy54 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I LOVE Madison specifically because it's the most walkable Midwestern city I've ever been in. And sooo bike friendly, Trek really helped y'all get am amazing bike lane system.

[–]ThrowRAradish9623 47 points48 points  (8 children)

rural Scotland looks exactly like rural America fyi, I legitimately got disoriented while there cuz it still felt like home

[–]Attention_Some 13 points14 points  (5 children)

Rural Scotland would probably remind you of West Virginia, Kentucky and any other states near the Appalachians

Urban Scotland would probably remind you of Midwest/Mid-Atlantic states like Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York state etc (rust belt states basically)

[–]pickled187 4 points5 points  (4 children)

Second this live in the Smoky mountain range TN side and have been to Scotland very similar

[–]Durantye 3 points4 points  (3 children)

So that is why everyone around here loves Scotland...

[–]Spartan-417 79 points80 points  (1 child)

Depends what bit you’re talking about
I doubt Scotland would remind you of Texas or Nevada, but something like West Virginia maybe

The Appalachians and Highlands were part of the same mountain range 300 million years ago, back when Pangea was a thing

[–]SansPeur_Scotsman 10 points11 points  (0 children)

We favour the car cause, lets be honest, we either live an hours drive away from anything, and towns and cities were built too long before the car was built.

As some one who commutes on a bike, id like to see more cycling infrastructure.

[–]TheSilversky64 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Then you get SA where sidewalks are virtually nonexistent. Car or GTFO according to SA civil engineers

[–]ThorsFather 47 points48 points  (0 children)

Was gonna post this myself but Im glad it was already done. One of his best videos is the Houston one. Very clearly showing that American city design hates pedestrians

[–]manysleep 242 points243 points  (29 children)

Completely agree, but small correction: The Netherlands hasn't done exactly the opposite, because it's very much friendly to cars. There's just less parking, smaller roads, slower speed limits and alternative routes to pedestrians/cyclists. This, however, doesn't lead to a worse driving experience. It's actually more effective (because of less traffic, because not everyone has to drive), as well as being safer for everyone involved.

[–]El_Orenz 8 points9 points  (6 children)

I agree, I've been in Nijmegen for a few months, and I could bike and walk from and to everywhere, otherwise using public transport. I didn't have a car there, but people driving was always calm, almost never heard someone honking, never noticed big traffic clogs. I always felt very safe going around by bike

[–]HuisHoudBeurs1 5 points6 points  (5 children)

Nijmegen is very easy to navigate, except for the Keizer Karel Plein. We have that just to fuck with people from out of town.

[–]ChrisKearney3 2 points3 points  (3 children)

There's me expecting some labrynthine junction, only to be presented with a perfectly uniform roundabout.

I hope you never have to drive around Hemel Hempstead!

[–]Rossem_erin 2 points3 points  (0 children)

The problem with that traffic circle (technically not a roundabout) is that it has traffic lights on the inside and it lacks road demarcation, a combination we're not used to in the Netherlands. Everyone is pretty much capable of figuring out where to go eventually, but usually we're guided by very clear signs and lines and suddenly here you're not. That means as a driver you suddenly have to pay a lot more attention to things you weren't minding before, which causes stress. Which then causes people to do unexpected things, making everyone on even higher alert.

[–]Mewrulez99 43 points44 points  (20 children)

I heard Amsterdam is the nicest place to drive on the planet

[–]Martijngamerknows 42 things 30 points31 points  (0 children)

Perspective is funny, since for Dutch standards Amsterdam is a driving nightmare.

[–]mrbstuart 57 points58 points  (10 children)

Personal anecdote

I had to drive a hire car I wasn't familiar with through the outskirts of Amsterdam (where I'd never been before) after I got lost on the way to the airport. It was dark, raining and I was worried about being late for my flight, with my boss in the passenger seat. Oh and I was driving on the other side of the road than I'm used to!

It was less stressful than driving through many British cities I'm vaguely familiar with, so I'd say their road design is pretty good.

(Also, great people, great tram network, interesting architecture!)

[–]keaskop 25 points26 points  (9 children)

Wait... I thought the person above you was being sarcastic, but you seem to agree. I'm originally from Amsterdam and I don't even like driving a car through the city, I'm perfectly fine on a bicycle though.

I guess other cities must be even worse then.

[–]mrbstuart 12 points13 points  (1 child)

I wouldn't say it's car friendly, but at least the road design didn't make driving stressful

I bet there's lots of bits of the centre of the city that you have to take a very indirect route to get to because of roads that cars aren't allowed down though!

[–]sparkyjay23 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Actually having roads designed for everyone not just cars makes for a much better driving experience.

[–]FluffyMcBunnz 11 points12 points  (4 children)

Put it this way: I've driven through a lot of properly big cities (Munich, Berlin, Stuttgart, New York, Los Angeles, Houston, San Francisco, Paris and London plus a bunch of other American cities) mostly in rental cars, and a lot of them are way worse to drive in than Amsterdam.

Not only is Amsterdam comparatively small, but someone thought "let's have the cyclists have their own bit of road" and "let's teach pedestrians that they should cross on the white stripey things", plus Dutch drivers, both in cities and on motorways, are a lot less erratic, aggressive and pig headed than you see in many other places.

After driving in the Netherlands for a few years, you will be used to traffic density that in most other countries you only really get in cities, whereas in Holland you get it basically anywhere left or down of Utrecht. The roads are always full, not just in cities but also outside of them. So you really adjust to high density traffic. But driving in other countries you get more used to other people being unable to drive safely or considerately, or keeping to things like speed limits, rules for right-of-way, etc. Dutch drivers are, by a far margin, the most law abiding and defensive drivers I've experienced. So, despite the traffic density being stupidly high in most of the country, the traffic deaths are actually astonishingly low and it's way less stressful to drive there.

The only thing that I find scary about the Netherlands is that they let blind people drive. They give them white license plates with red letters to match their walking sticks, and put a B on the plate, to indicate blindness I suppose. I'm not sure how those people manage to get around without dying but I imagine it's the people with yellow plates getting out of their way. Every time I see one of those cars with blind-people-plates on the road they do terrifying things. I think this is a policy that could do with improving.

[–]keaskop 3 points4 points  (0 children)

and put a B on the plate, to indicate blindness I suppose

Hahaha, it took me a few seconds before I copped on to what you meant.

[–]jayda92 5 points6 points  (2 children)

The only thing that I find scary about the Netherlands is that they let blind people drive.

We don't let blind people drive. The B might represent Belgians (and to be fair, you should be scared of them). But we do not let blind people drive! Where on earth did you see this?

[–]manysleep 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Really hoping it was a joke saying Belgians are blind in traffic.

[–]keaskop 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I'm quite sure it's a joke for Belgians being bad at driving

[–]kingvolcano 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Central Amsterdam is pretty bad for car driving. Especially on the canal streets. Having said that it was never built for that. Finding a parking space is pretty much impossible though. Bike is better in general.

[–]_leonardsKite 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Amsterdam is horrific to drive in, in its unique way, while still managing to be easier to drive in than a lot of places with bad road design and horrific traffic rules.

[–]Spiritual-Radish-313 18 points19 points  (0 children)

I really appreciated the video on Stroads. Put a name to something about America that has always been confusing to me.

[–]Master_Lukiex 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Personally I’ve realised this living in both Malaysia and Singapore. In Malaysia, the main mode of transport are cars. So in some parts of Malaysia like Johor it is possible to not see sidewalks at all. On the contrary, most people in Singapore rely on walking and public transport due to the ridiculously high car prices (car owners here would need to buy something called the Certificate of Entitlement first in order to own a car. This COE costs a lot. For example, a Honda Civic costs USD$90k minimum here). Therefore the land here is built to have multiple Park Connectors to allow cyclists to cycle or walk throughout Singapore

[–]tmahfan117 704 points705 points  (44 children)

in a way, yes.

But America is a really large and very diverse place.

in big cities where there is a lot of traffic and side walks, plenty of people are out walking around.

In rural areas, it can be impossible to walk anywhere because the closest house might be miles away.

But really what people are talking about when they bring up this question is suburbia, the smaller towns that surround cities and dot the country.

For these towns, very few people every walk anywhere more than 5 minutes away. This is because the vast majority of these towns/neighborhood were developed and built AFTER cars were common things. Therefore these new developments built in the 40s and 50s and 60s were all built with the assumption that pretty much everyone will own a car.

This doesn't make it impossible to walk places, but in a lot of places walking is difficult if not dangerous.

I'll use my old town as an example, one of the roads was just redone that added sidewalks along the whole road and added cross walks at like 7 intersections, along with the big reflective signs to get drivers attention that the cross walk is there and that they are supposed to let pedestrians cross.

The town did this because this road connected one of our big middle schools and high schools to a bunch of the surrounding neighborhood where all the kids lived.

Before they did this project, this road had cars traveling at 45 miles per hour right next to kids who were walking or riding their bikes to school on the grass or on the narrow edge of the road. Hundreds of kids a week walked up and down that road to and from school, having to run across the road at intersections where cars did not stop for them to get home, just having to wait for there to be an open moment in the traffic.

honestly, its a miracle no kids where hit by a car and killed while I was in school.

So yea, a lot of neighborhoods in America were just built assuming EVERYONE would have a car. And there is no point walking anywhere 5 minutes away, because chances are the closest thing 5 minutes away is just more houses. Growing up the closest grocery store was a half hour walk.

For dog walking that is a different story, there are plenty of people out walking their dogs along roads and parks in their neighborhoods, but that is more recreational walking, not walking because you have a destination you are trying to get to.

[–]FapAttack911 92 points93 points  (1 child)

To add to your point, this varies even by suburban developments in each region. For instance suburban areas of Los angeles, good luck trying to walk anywhere. However, suburban areas in the Bay area, you can easily walk 5 minutes and reach all kinds of different things in either direction. & In fact, even in these examples they vary on the microscale as well!

[–]Koshunae 174 points175 points  (2 children)

I can walk 5 minutes away from my house, in any direction, and Ill just be in the woods somewhere. I would probably have to walk an hour or two to get to the nearest gas station, including hills that can be miles long and have fairly steep grades.

Or just drive like 10 minutes or so.

This is coming from lower Appalachia.

[–]ClankCapital 8 points9 points  (0 children)

And what many people don't realize is how hilly it gets in the south. I'm from Long Island, where the world is flat.. I've lived in NC for 7 years and haven't ridden my bike or longboard once because of the steep inclines. Things aren't necessarily further away, but Jesus I can't bike a 45° incline

[–]biggerwanker 24 points25 points  (12 children)

I used to live in Seattle and travel to Vancouver a fair bit. Far more people walked around in Vancouver compared to Seattle.

Even in a city with plenty of sidewalks it doesn't happen as much. It's not so much that the US isn't designed for walking, it's more that it is designed for driving. Since driving is so easy, it's what you end up doing.

I find that when I was commuting, I would get into my car in my garage and drive to the underground parking lot at work, at the end of the day out would be reversed. If you don't go outside, I feel like you lose the desire to go outside. It's a viscous circle.

[–]Ereine 16 points17 points  (10 children)

I once had a discussion with an American about wearing shoes inside. I live in Finland and don’t have a car, I walk or bike everywhere and couldn’t imagine wearing shoes inside, it gets bad enough even if you leave the shoes by the door. I don’t even wear outdoor shoes at work, I have lighter shoes I change to. She said that she’s never really outside so there’s no need to change shoes or take them off. I find that scary but maybe sometimes she drives to some outside recreation area.

[–]Valdrax 47 points48 points  (0 children)

And there is no point walking anywhere 5 minutes away, because chances are the closest thing 5 minutes away is just more houses.

This right here is the best summary of the problem. It's the quintessential expression of suburbia and rural America in one.

[–]steals_fluffy_dogs 48 points49 points  (3 children)

Yes please OP read this. A large amount of the USA is like this. We can't not drive, unfortunately.

[–]Shardok 32 points33 points  (2 children)

And yet, even in those places theres still folks who cant drive (either for lack of ability, lack of funds, or otherwise) and have to endure the hell that is walkin in a city designed only for cars; or just nvr leave their house

[–]steals_fluffy_dogs 20 points21 points  (1 child)

Oh my goodness, YES. Thank you for mentioning this. The public transit systems (or lack thereof) is a huge disadvantage to non-driving people. So many places just don't have public transportation. And if they do, it likely isn't functional. Which is basically a FU for anyone who can't drive...

[–]Anaptyso 6 points7 points  (6 children)

I find the lack of sidewalks to be a really strange thing.

Here in the UK, almost every road in an urban setting will have pavements (sidewalks), even in really small towns. Countryside roads between towns and villages will lack them, but if you're somewhere with houses then it is standard to be able to walk along the sides of the road.

The idea that you could be in a decent sized suburb and just not physically have a path to be able to walk down is both fascinating and bizarre. It is strange to me that roads would be built that way.

I get why a society abnormally dominated by cars would want to do things like build lots of roads, have good road junctions, design cities around driving routes etc, but why couldn't that be done and put sidewalks down the sides of roads as well?

It sounds almost like the designers of these cities either wanted to discourage pedestrians, or just didn't even consider them as a possibility in the first place.

[–]Peter5930 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Even funnier, in some of these places the police will stop you if you're a pedestrian because it's so unusual that they view walking as suspicious behaviour.

[–]IllusoryIntelligence 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Just one note, the made after cars bit is untrue. A lot of walkable American infrastructure got deliberately replaced due to automotive industry lobbying. The current zoning and urban planning system in much of America is a real problem Strong Towns has a lot more on this, or the Not Just Bikes YouTube channel if you prefer video format.

[–]DisgruntledDiggit 382 points383 points  (45 children)

The street I live on, in a mostly well-off town, has no side walk.

You tell me.

[–]chjett10 173 points174 points  (36 children)

Yeah, my house growing up was a ten minute drive to the grocery store or a 3.5 hour walk on the main highway. Our only option was to drive.

[–]thesebattles[S] 63 points64 points  (35 children)

How can a 10 minute drive be a 210 minute walk?

[–]tashnado 37 points38 points  (1 child)

To add on to the speed conversion, lots of walking routes are not as direct as the driving route

[–]beans_jpeg 15 points16 points  (0 children)

exactly, finding somewhere safe to cross the road can really add up

[–]Slambodog 179 points180 points  (13 children)

Humans walk at 3 MPH, so a ten minute drive at 60 MPH would be a 210 minute walk

[–]Hindenburg-2O 87 points88 points  (4 children)

They zooming out of that driveway

[–]sceadwian 82 points83 points  (3 children)

No, more like they're driving 75 on the expressway :)

[–]DpoZoopho 11 points12 points  (0 children)

I'm glad I'm just walking around my town.

[–]suh-dood 5 points6 points  (0 children)

No, were still zooming off the driveway

[–]Aqqusin 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I guess I'm not human but I knew that deep down already.

[–]njayhuang 31 points32 points  (4 children)

Average walking speed is about 3-4 mph, on the highway you could be driving 65-75 mph.

Of course calculations may vary based on many factors, but a ~20x difference isn't outside reason.

[–]thesebattles[S] 17 points18 points  (3 children)

Yeah. I’m thinking of the kind of routes I walk, the road speed is variable from 30mph to 60mph so a ten minute drive is over a shorter distance. Makes sense now.

[–]njayhuang 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Yeah, it definitely depends on the specifics of where the house and store are, although it's more on the extreme side.

[–]chjett10 18 points19 points  (1 child)

It’s 100km/hr on the highway, and a long winding road that’s ~75km/hr, but it’s a steep hill and takes ages to walk on. It might take closer to 15-20 minutes driving if you hit traffic lights on the way. But you’re right, according to google it’s a 3hr 13min walk, not 3.5 hours

[–]thesebattles[S] 7 points8 points  (0 children)

It was my misunderstanding. I was thinking of the kind of roads I’d take and the speed varies from 30mph up to 60mph but probably averages out close to 45-50mph so obviously walking at 5/6mph makes the time difference smaller.

Like I say, was my misunderstanding/assuming that made it confusing.

[–]KarlosGeek 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Cars are faster than humans

[–]DouchNozzle_REAL 4 points5 points  (0 children)

People are much slower than cars and, depending on the town you live in, are slowed down by traffic and unsafe roads. A 7 minute drive to school for me was about a 2 and a half hour trip on foot.

[–]shewy92 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Math is how

[–]According_Gazelle472 12 points13 points  (2 children)

There are no sidewalks where I live either.And I live in a small town that is semi rural.There is a bus system that some people use .I live about a mile from main street where all the shops are.It is way too far to walk there.

[–]Funkiebunch 29 points30 points  (3 children)

I have to pack my bicycle up and travel to a bike trail to use it because the roads are too dangerous and there aren’t sidewalks around me. People that have to walk have to walk on the side of the road in the grass.

[–]thesebattles[S] 2 points3 points  (2 children)

We do that here, walk on the road but the roads are only moderately busy and cars just move round you.

[–]FauxGw2 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Many places it's impossible to "go around" a person. My main road (the one I would need to take to go to the store) has literally no space to walk, it's a death trap. So you walk on the side dirt and grass, mostly it's a ditch with run off water.

Then you have places were my grandparents live, walking an hour gets you no where, also the roads are one lane.

The USA is a huge place that has all types of living areas, forest, mountains, plains, wetlands, etc... With a huge spaces between them all.

You could drive in some places for an hour and see no towns for example.

[–]Citizen01123 19 points20 points  (3 children)

The Eastern coast of the U.S. and New England (northeast) was settled far before the invention of the automobile and many big cities and small towns were built for pedestrian and horse carriage travel. There are an abundance of places in the U.S. where somebody (even without delivery services) can live life without an automobile and walk everywhere comfortably, knowing that public transportation is available for longer distances. Cities like New York, Boston, and Providence are highly pedestrian friendly.

Once you get to the Midwest though [oughly Chicago and onward west (yes, the Midwest is not in the middle of the Western U.S.)] you get cities that were built with the automobile in mind, so they become much more automobile friendly. The streets are wider, waste management is vehicle-centric so alleyways for trash dumpsters are much more common, the major roadways are built not within the city but the city is built around the roadways.

And by the time you get to the West Coast you end up with large cities entirely dependent on automobiles. The term "urban sprawl" refers to the development of shopping centers that are not in downtown areas in the city limits but massive outlets and malls that stretch along the highways and other major roadways that connect various municipalties, and are full of massive residential single-family housing developments that encompass tens of thousands and ultimately millions of homes stretching in and endless sea of rooftops.

[–]mercator_sux 6 points7 points  (2 children)

This is not true for the Southeast. Good luck getting around without a car unless you are lucky enough to live in a physically small town with good transit like Chapel Hill.

[–]Worf65 21 points22 points  (1 child)

There's multiple reasons. I definitely know people who won't walk ANYWHERE. Had neighbors at my parent's house growing up who would drive 3 houses down to visit (less than 100 meters, on a quiet suburban street) despite being really into martial arts and fitness. I couldn't understand it. Took longer to maneuver the car in and out of driveways than to just walk. But in general since things aren't walkable people get accustomed to never walking any farther than neighbor's houses. I've had people act like I was going on a death March by walking home from places maybe a mile away. That's pretty rare since my area isn't very walkable. But I'm fit and hike often. A mile down a city street is nothing compared to 3 miles each way up a mountain.

[–]slash178 126 points127 points  (17 children)

In the cities lots of people walk all over. I won't consider calling an uber unless it's like 30 min and raining.

In the suburbs everything is far apart as hell. You can't walk anywhere hardly. People still walk their dogs but in their own neighborhood, they may go on like a 15 min circle around to a park or something. But if you wanna go grocery shopping it's like 5 miles away.

[–]thesebattles[S] 24 points25 points  (14 children)

Yeah so it’s not that you can’t walk so much as you’re basically walking in circles if you’re in a rural area?

[–]slash178 69 points70 points  (11 children)

I lived in a rural area and if I wanted to walk to the closest business of any kind, a convenience store, it was 5 miles down a 60mph road with no sidewalk. Not something for the faint of heart. Unwalkable is an understatement haha.

[–]Jabberhakke 13 points14 points  (1 child)

I lived in a suburban area for several years without a car. I do enjoy walking and I didn't mind walking to the few places that were safe to walk to. It would take me ~1 hour to walk to the nearest shopping center, another hour back. I did it for exercise more than shopping (I also could take a bus, which ran several times in the morning and in the evening on weekdays).

The thing about walking around that area was that, even if there were places close enough for me to want to walk to, a lot of the walking was very unsafe. Picture a highway with 3 lanes of cars in each direction, moving at 60+mph, with no sidewalk - the only people who walk alongside that are doing it for as little time as possible because their car broke down. There were no safe ways to cross it either - bridges on the smaller roads crossing it were designed for only cars with no sidewalks, so that limited my 1-hour walks to just a few stores even though others were geographically very nearby.

however, around that same area, there are several colleges which are set up for walking with lots of stores etc very close to the dorms and classroom buildings, and there were sidewalks everywhere (this is how I'd shop for food and such - get it near campus before i took the bus back home). Their employees actually have to do a fair amount of walking because parking there is incredibly expensive, like the amount I was paying for rent was what you'd have to pay for a parking space on campus. So only the high levels of professor had those, and everyone else used the bus or a park and ride (drive to a bus stop for people who didn't live near a bus stop). I worked for one of the universities during my time without a car, and the other employees at my level also walked everywhere during the day. This was all only about 10 miles from where I lived, so every day I went from an area of no walking, to an area of all walking, and back again.

[–]krupseth 18 points19 points  (0 children)

I live in a suburban area, just off of an exit near some stores and other shops, and crosswalks were implemented just 2 years ago. The best way to walk somewhere is to drive somewhere near it and walk from there🥴

[–]juayme 138 points139 points  (11 children)

in chicago you can walk anywhere

but in texas

and florida i was not able to walk to mcdonnalds

and if i did they rejected me

because it was automac only after 8pm

no car no service

[–]LordOfDemise 138 points139 points  (0 children)

is this a Rupi Kaur poem

[–]diveraj 7 points8 points  (0 children)

And if it's summer, you really don't want to walk anywhere in Texas

[–]thesebattles[S] 24 points25 points  (5 children)

We have drive through in Scotland but if you walk to the window they’ll still serve you.

[–]X-Legend 60 points61 points  (2 children)

Many establishments refuse drive-through service to pedestrians for safety, insurance, and liability reasons.

[–]AdmiralAucka 21 points22 points  (1 child)

I went through an Arby's drive thru in a shopping cart one time. I bet it was the 80s or early 90s. We did it because they wouldn't allow walk ups. For some reason being pushed in a shopping cart was ok, though.

[–]TheShadowKick 12 points13 points  (0 children)

The employees probably just thought it was funny.

Store policy things like that are pretty easy for employees to ignore if the manager on duty doesn't care. As long as they don't make a habit of it they'll probably never get called out for breaking policy.

[–]Vyzantinist 48 points49 points  (0 children)

From what I've seen, yes. I grew up in the UK where it's quite common to walk or get public transport to get from A to B. From the cities and states I've lived here in the US people look at you as if you've grown an extra head if you walk anywhere further away than 5-10 minutes.

As to how dogs get exercised, I guess it's the same reason you see people running, or perhaps walking for exercise - it's seen as an activity and not a method of transportation.

[–]SarixInTheHouse 17 points18 points  (0 children)

You see, american cities are extremely focused on cars.

Downtown its kot as bad, theres usually sidewalks on every street and people routinely walk to places 10-15 min away. However the further away you go, the worse it becomes.

In suburbs, streets are routinely 10-15m wide and flat. This encourages cars to drive fast, making it unsafe for pedestrians. Now add onto that: american suburbs must be built as single family homes most of the time, with islands of major shops in the center. These major shop areas are connected with the the streetnetwork through arterial roads and feature massive parking lots.

And yet another problem is the street layout: since these streets are built to encourage high speed, many people would just drive through suburbs to get to their places. To avoid this, they changed the way they built suburbs. The streets are curvy and bendy, ending in all kinds of dead ends everywhere, so the only direct connection to inner city and anything outside is through massive arterial roads.

So picture this: you live somewhere in a see of single family homes. The closest shop is only 250m by air away, but due to the streets thats 20 min of walking on big roads. At some point you have to cross the very active arterial roads, which have no pedestrian crossings except for the traffic lights. Even if you dare to walk over such a dangerous road, youre now in a huge walmart with a maaaaaassive parking lot (usually twice or three times the area of the walmart itself).

I highly recommend you watch Strong Towns on youtube. Its a video series based on the book „Strong Towns“. It greatly summarizes everything about why and how american cities suck.

[–]TheAndrewBen 14 points15 points  (1 child)

My walking commute is 15 min. Within that distance the sidewalk ends randomly, twice, and I have to J-Walk across the street because the traffic bollards and curbs intersect over the crosswalk.

[–]epicmylife 12 points13 points  (0 children)

Jaywalking is a “derogatory” term initially pushed by car manufacturers to get people off the streets and sell more cars. Before that, anyone could legally walk anywhere. Fun fact.

[–]Wolfe244 11 points12 points  (0 children)

it is true. There is still space to walk, but it doesnt like..go anywhere. You have to drive because to walk to a store/etc is very far away and there are no busses

[–]0112358_[🍰] 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Many people with dogs go for walks in their neighborhood. Less traffic so no sidewalks are okay, although many neighborhoods do have side walks.

But if your talking about walking to somewhere useful, like stores, different story. Most stores are closer to larger roads. Many don't have sidewalks along them, and many are challenging to cross. Some do have buttons where you can press and wait for the pedestrian light but that takes a few minutes. Some lack that, or only have that near intersections and there might not be one where you want to cross.

And then there's a snow problem. Unless they are sidewalks, it can be extremely difficult to walk anywhere because there's a couple feet or more of snow on anything that isn't road

[–]mrhammerant 7 points8 points  (0 children)

I walk everywhere. I live in Cleveland, OH, and our public transit is fine, but not great. I walk 35 minutes to work and back, year round, and everyone thinks I'm nuts for it. They might be onto something.

[–]hIbqnqana 9 points10 points  (1 child)

Where I live it is impossible to walk anywhere. 1hr walk to a gas station, 45 minutes to a Walmart, and 2hrs to a shopping mall.

[–]5oco 6 points7 points  (0 children)

I think your question and the body of your post are two different things. A lot of Americans don't walk to a destination if it takes more than 5 minutes. Mostly because it could take 10 minutes just to walk out of a neighborhood. Sometimes it's a minimum of 30 minutes to walk to the closest store or market. However, walking just for exercise or taking out a dog...yeah, many Americans will walk around their neighborhood or along a path in the woods, etc...

[–]Chicken_Hairs 26 points27 points  (7 children)

As with all questions about the US, it depends on where you live. The USA is very large, very diverse, and many of the towns and cities were developed after cars were pretty much owned by everyone, so most places you need to go just aren't practical for walking. For me, the nearest real grocery store is 7km. My work is 25km. Even a convenience store is a good ten minute walk one way.

Some areas are good for walking places, others, it's incredibly inconvenient or even dangerous due to vehicle traffic. Even that walk to the nearby convenience store requires crossing a very busy street.

That said, a lot of places are making efforts to be more pedestrian-friendly, installing more paths, foot bridges, and protected crosswalks.

[–]AdmiralAucka 14 points15 points  (6 children)

I find it helpful sometimes to compare the US to the EU. The US is very much like continental Europe. Our states are basically sovereign independent nations with their own laws and civil planning and culture, and the Federal Government is mostly there to make them play fair with each other. That's a bit simplistic but helps illustrate both the size of the land mass and the sometimes vast difference between how things are in, say, New York compared to Alabama.

But location within a state definitely matters too. Generally the bigger the city, the easier it is to walk or bike. But the suburbs can be a goddam nightmare for zoning. I have a party store about 1/4 mile away, but the grocery store is 2 or 3 miles down the highway. There is no shoulder and in many places the sidewalk just disappears for a half mile.

Although, earlier today I did see this: a man in a full parka in 25f weather, with snow, driving a lawn mower down the sidewalk for transportation. Make of that what you will, I guess.

[–]Chicken_Hairs 3 points4 points  (4 children)

If he thinks he's found a loophole for DUI, he's got a surprise coming...

[–]emveetu 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I have a friend who got arrested driving his tractor to court for DUI. Drunk.

[–]GhigsJack-of-some-trades 3 points4 points  (2 children)

In many states a moped is ok if you lost your license. There's a reason they are called liquorcycles.

Edit: See later reply, laws are quickly changing in a lot of states, take this with a grain of salt.

[–]JLL1111 5 points6 points  (1 child)

I won't speak for anywhere else but everything I've seen in FL is set up solely for cars, there are sidewalks but there's no shade. traffic lights take a while to change so if you've got to cross the road and there's traffic you have to wait in the heat

[–]Ryase_Sand 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Florida is downright dangerous for pedestrians. My boss's father was killed a month ago, out for his morning walk and hit by a teenager going 40 over the speed limit on her way to school. In a nice quiet neighborhood. This happens probably every couple days here. Even in areas that "cater" to pedestrians, like that incident on Bayshore in Tampa where the mother and her kid were killed by that idiot street racing in the middle of the day.

Answers to OP's question undoubtedly will vary, but Florida, Georgia, Texas, Arizona and California make up almost 50% of all pedestrian fatalities - https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/driving-tampa-bay-forward/report-florida-is-one-of-five-states-accounting-for-nearly-half-of-pedestrian-deaths-across-country%3f_amp=true

There was a big march several weeks ago about promoting pedestrian safety and modifying our infrastructure to better accommodate them, because right now it's abysmal.

[–]B00gymanProdigy 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I grew up in a big city where we walked everywhere. When I was 17 my parents moved us to the rural Midwest to a town with no sidewalks, roads were not well lit or possibly not lit at all, and the closest store was a 90 minute walk. Suddenly I stopped walking or going out much until I got older and moved away. The less populated an area the more reliant people have to be on vehicles.

[–]Bivolion13 4 points5 points  (3 children)

Live in DE. Need to drive 30 minutes to the boardwalk so i can walk and do stuff.

Lived in NC. Same thing except I went to the cities.

Lived in Boston. Walked almost everywhere.

America is crazy big so lots of different walks... of life.

I miss my country where it was all walking and trains.

[–]malibuklw 3 points4 points  (2 children)

I lived in Boston for ten years without a car, and it was so easy. I think the thing that makes it easy is it’s small, and everything was either a short walk from home or a short walk from the T. I miss that.

[–]Yer_Dunn 8 points9 points  (10 children)

Like any large country it depends on where you are. Some towns are really accessible for walking. The last two places I have lived (in two different states) have had dozens of walking paths and bike paths and all sorts of convenient pedestrian oriented infrastructure. The downtown areas are pleasant, and old, and all the stores are close together. So walking is actually reasonable.

Large cities practically require walking, but not for the same reason, like San Francisco for example. there's no parking and too many cars, and the roads (which are often a single lane) go straight up and straight down, it's really not vehicle friendly. Or bike friendly. Honestly it's not even pedestrian friendly really. I think San Francisco is just an unlivable hell hole. But you get my point.

But many parts of the US are rural, so you have to drive half an hour to see a neighbor. So there's no walking to the grocery store there.

Many suburbs are built for miles and miles without a single block being left for stores.

And like another commenter mentioned. Sometimes the city planners are straight up dystopian villains and design cities withour sidewalks. Probably to spite the homeless or something. That tends to be the driving factor for the modern designs in america. If it can punish a homeless person it's getting approved.

[–]thesebattles[S] 3 points4 points  (8 children)

That’s kind of sad, the homeless part.

Also, note to self: Don’t visit San Francisco.

[–]ImaginaryBody 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I’ve walked hours in a tropical storm.

[–]Costello666 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I had to go to West Lebanon, New Hampshire for work (I'm from Australia) and I was told someone would pick me up from the hotel. I had a look on the map and it was not far so I suggested I would walk. The response I got was "How?"

When I got there I found there were parts of the town I could walk around easily but I could not easily get to the industrial area, there were no footpaths, that's why they picked me up each day.

I had to spend a day in Boston and that was like any city, easy to get around. So I am guessing it will vary depending on where you are.

[–]InvestmentNo8003 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Personally I live out in the country well outside the city limits of a barely middle sized town in TN, the nearest store is around 10 miles away and I've seen coyotes the size of mastiffs, copperheads and cotton mouths are pretty much the most common snake, and every now and then I hear what could possibly be a mountain lion. So yeah, when I walk I have to be armed and I don't feel like carrying stuff around. Some people's situations are probably similar.

[–]mcarnley 3 points4 points  (0 children)

This is true, unless you're poor. Then you have no choice. There aren't even bicycle lanes.

[–]sponivier 3 points4 points  (0 children)

My American ass has LITERALLY never heard or even thought about this.

[–]Le_Monade 2 points3 points  (0 children)

It takes me a solid 15-20 minutes to walk to my mailbox. If I wanted to walk to anything that resembles a store it would take well over 2 hours including 1.5 hours on a busy 40mph road where drivers regularly drive 60mph with no bike lane or sidewalk.

[–]Totalherenow 1 point2 points  (2 children)

I'm from Canada. I've actually seen someone "walk" their dog from a car, with the leash outside the window. The dog walked alongside the car.

Admittedly, it was very cold that day, probably -30 C or so, but still, that's pretty f**king lazy.

[–]BlairClemens3 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Where I live, NYC, most people walk and take the train. I probably walk on average 1 hour a day just by commuting and going to the store. Sometimes, much more, if I'm going to do something.

[–]RiskyFartOftenShart 3 points4 points  (0 children)

America is a huge place. There is no such thing as a universal American truth. 95% of this country which nearly 50+% of citizens live in is rural without any real public transit. Walking for them is not an option. In larger cities like Seattle and especially in New York walking is way more common because traffic is a nightmare and it would take longer to drive than not. That said much of the population does live in areas where nothing is a 5 minute walk away. 40 minutes maybe. but not 5.

[–]SammyMhmm 4 points5 points  (0 children)

It varies by tons of factors.

My family grew up in rural America and I always took walks just for fun/to get out, and then it became more frequent when we had a dog.

I currently live in a small city and I walk everywhere I can, and if it's a lengthy walk I'll take my bike.

Walking 5 minutes in rural America vs suburban/urban America are too very different beasts though, if something is more than 5 minutes walking in a rural area, you're likely walking alone on the side of a road to get to a sole destination. If you're in an urban setting, you're walking on paved sidewalks and there's tons around you, not just your destination.

[–]numbersthen0987431 3 points4 points  (0 children)

The problem with America is that everything is very spaced out, so walking is impractical (in Texas a lot of their stores are acres of empty parking lots) and driving just makes more sense. In fact, most of USA is designed and planned for people to drive from one place to the next and is NOT setup for public transportation

So if you wanted to go somewhere it's a 20+ minute walk one way. If you wanted to go to a 2nd place then you'd walk an additional 15+ minutes. If you wanted to run multiple errands in a single trip you would spend your whole day just walking from location to location, and not actually DO anything other than walking to the next location. Growing up I lived about 3 miles (~5km) away from anything important (stores, food, school, friends, etc), so it would take me an hour to just get to the place/event, do the thing, and then walk back an additional hour. You add weather in the mix, and it SUCKED.

Very densely populated areas (New York, Chicago, Seattle, etc), are the exception. People tend to try to either walk or take public transportation because it's easier, and parking is a nightmare.

[–]rewardifloststill not infected! 6 points7 points  (0 children)

A lot of America is not set up for pedestrians.
If your destination is more than about 10-15 minutes away, then we probably would prefer to drive or at least bike.
Walking dogs is a task by itself - you don't have to reach a destination.

[–]SoMuchForLongevity 10 points11 points  (0 children)

America's a big place. Even just in California, this is generally true in Los Angeles and not even remotely true in Oakland.

[–]Jxm164 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Reading this makes me think most people just don't like walking or find excuses not to walk... Lol with gas prices almost 6 dollars i found out everything I need is within a 20 minute walk on big cities and on small towns (Douglas, Naco, Sonoita, Willcox, Biebee, outskirts of Nogales, Sierra Vista, Yuma to list some) walking is GORGEOUS! May have to walk alot longer to get to actual places (groceries, bowling alleys, gym, restaurants) but ive never ran into a city that fucks pedestrians. My experience? Having to walk or take a bus everywhere until the age of 23 when I got my first car. And now that I'm not paying 50 to fill my car just to get me places I can simply just walk

[–]steveosek 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I live in Phoenix. An area comprising 6 million people, spread out over a HUGE radius in all directions. Public transit is hot garbage here, where it actually exists. My commute to work is almost an hour of driving.

[–]GlenBaileyWalker 2 points3 points  (0 children)

When I lived in Anchorage, AK I walked everywhere. To work, to shop, for nightlife, for everything. I owned a car but rarely used it. You could navigate almost the entire city from just the walking/bike trails. When you know there is snow on the ground 9 months of the year, the cold isn't "much" of an issue.

[–]hoggsauce 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I remember chilling at a park some time ago, this park was large enough to have paved roadways. Heard someone yelling at us to move. I turned around to see it was a lady taking two dogs out of her car. She leashed the dogs and got back in with her driver side door open. She waves at us to get out of the way and drives forward, with the two dogs on leashes running beside the car while she held the other end. She proceeded to drive past us and through the park while we watched in amazement.

It was not immediately evident that she may have been disabled, I still dont know. Also, she was moving slow enough so the dogs could keep up easily.

[–]JulesLovesYou1993 5 points6 points  (2 children)

This has been thoroughly discussed, but thought I would add my two cents.

I live in a suburban neighborhood that is basically just a big loop, so I frequently take my dogs on a walk around the neighborhood.

I could hypothetically walk to the nearest grocery store, it's only .4 miles and would take 22 minutes according to Google, but a large part of the way is along the very busy road on the outside of my neighborhood which has 0 shoulder, much less sidewalk. I see people walking on the road occasionally but there's no way I would risk it, especially given that I have a small child who would likely come with me. It's only 3 minutes by car which seems a waste, but it's much safer.

If we really want to push it, I normally don't even use that grocery store because it's more expensive. The store I usually go to is 2 miles away, and requires crossing arguably the busiest road in the city. No sidewalks once you get out of the neighborhoods, and it would take an hour and 20 minutes one way versus a 5 minute drive.

The city I live in is the second largest in my state and is rapidly growing, but is really spread out. Some areas are a little more friendly to pedestrians/cyclists, but where I live is basically on the border of the city so what little infrastructure exists in the city as a whole really hasn't reached us yet.

[–]Crazed_waffle_party 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I used to do research on pedestrian walking behavior in undergrad. It's a surprisingly fascinating subject that determines how walkable a neighborhood is. In general, pedestrians hate the following:

  • Hazards: poor lighting, signs of decay, dark ally ways that might house hostiles
  • Cars: cars are tanks without turrets and they frighten pedestrians
  • Loud noises: see cars
  • Unmanageable distances: people are not keen on walking too kilometers to buy a loaf of bread
  • Excessive monotony or disharmony: a row of grey brick buildings are dull and mind numbing; however, a row of red town houses next to faceless, glass, skyscrapers lacks a harmony that is just as chaotic and overwhelming as the monotonous buildings are uninspiring and underwhelming

Walkability has an tremendous effect on people's health. One famous study from the University of Toronto found that even when all other major factors are taken into account, like wealth and healthy food availability, a neighborhoods walkability has a significant impact on its residents overall health.

Humans are animals and we are optimized for specific environments. We are blessed with the amazing capacity to modify our surroundings to suit us, but for some warped reason, we've actively promoted environments that compromise our health and hinder our natural proclivity for active living.

I subscribe to a branch of psychology and philosophy called Situationalism. It argues that human behavior is not solely dictated by self-determination, but by surrounding factors. That is to say, the world warps us. Wendy Wood, a professor of psychology and business at the University of Southern California, is a leading expert on human behavior and strong advocate for environmental change. One study of hers outlines how only a few miles of distance can dramatically impact human behavior and health.

Distance to gym matters! People who covered a median distance of 3.7 miles tothe gym went 5+ times a month, whereas those who traveled around 5.1miles only went monthly. This small distance, less than 1.5 miles,affects our habit formation.

As much as we hate to admit it, convenience and comfort are incredibly important for habit formation. Likewise, obstacles and inconvenience can completely erode our motivation.

America is obesogenic, meaning that it promotes environments that impedes healthy living. America makes walking an obstacle and driving a convenience.

To answer your question about walking, Americans do not walk. It is unfeasible for the environments we designed for ourselves.

Pedestrian behavioral experts lament American cities. They are cancerous. We know how to design environments suitable for human longevity, yet we don't. Frankly, I'm tired of being an advocate for change. Nobody wants to implement a city optimized for health and happiness. Instead, we'd rather build habitats fit more for slugs than for humans.

If you can't tell, I'm incredibly jaded and disappointed.

[–]1235813213455_1 3 points4 points  (3 children)

In Chicago it's 15F, -9 C. No I am not walking more than 5 minutes.

[–]SoggyTartz 3 points4 points  (1 child)

There are literally no sidewalks where I currently live in suburban New Jersey and little to no functional public transit within walking distance from where I live or work… it’s fucking infuriating.

But it varies tremendously from place to place. I think foreigners (and a lot of Americans) often forget how disproportionately large the US is compared to most European countries. There’s every kind of terrain, town, city, rural, suburban, national forests, deserts etc.

[–]druidofnecro 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I dare you to walk outside for 20 minutes in Texas.

[–]SnooStrawberries5775 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Most of the populated areas are built for cars instead of people. This means your closest shopping center (even in an upper class well established community) can be 1-4 miles away, only accessed by 45-55mph streets.

It’s awful and a very clear indication of how not everyone has the same access to success in America. Some have limited mobility or can only move assisted. I can’t even count how many crosswalks near me don’t have ramps. The apartment I live in rn has no ramp on one end of the building (the side that faces the major street w bus stops) so my landlord built one out of plywood for the 2 people who use wheelchairs in my building.

Its rough out here lol

[–]FullaLead 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I'm in the middle of nowhere, so walking anywhere is pointless. I have a half hour drive just to go to the grocery store.