The other week I wrote: Personally, I’d rather eat than drive any day.
Evidently not everybody agrees: Pensioner Josephine Simsa says she would rather not eat than give up her car and her treasured independence.
She doesn’t mean it literally of course, but the article goes on to describe how she specifically shops for cheap food so she can keep her car running.
I find that interesting, particularly for someone who lives in Albert Park, which has some of the best public transport in Melbourne. But only, of course, if all your trips are into the CBD, St Kilda, or other places easily reached on the tram. It’s not so good if you have relatives in Dingley and friends in Warrandyte.
On a related note, many are now talking about the value of “walkability” of a suburb, which has come into prominence with resources like WalkScore. My suburb, Bentleigh, gets a score of
58 62 out of 100 — though at present it doesn’t find a lot of the nearby shops and facilities because it has limited data for cities outside North America.
Ultimately it’s likely that unless you live in a high density area, you’ll have to resort to methods other than walking to get to the things you need, and where you need to be. That’s Walkscore’s downfall — it doesn’t measure proximity to usable public transport.
Also related, an interesting discussion on the Freakonomics blog, looking at the future of suburbia. This quote caught my eye, which probably applies just as much to Australian cities as US ones:
High oil prices and the imperative to address global climate change will help spur denser residential development along transit corridors outside of cities. We’d see more of it today, if supply kept up with demand. Chris Leinberger estimates that walkable suburban communities served by transit today command anywhere from a 40 percent to 200 percent price premium over conventional drivable suburban development.