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Thread: The ideal commute

  1. #26
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Dogs are good conversation breakers, aren't they? Especially in more boho areas where there are relatively few children.
    That was my experience where I live. We made friends once we got a dog and starting going to the dog park regularly.

    I would say my ideal commute 10-20 mins walking, but I stretch it to be the same time by any transportation mode.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  2. #27
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    I enjoy a 10 min. drive to work. If I walk, it takes 40 minutes. If I take the bus, it's 40 minutes. Baltimore still suffers from the old streetcar network thinking to bus route planning.
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  3. #28
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Oh wouldn't it be nice.....

    I agree with the others that a 10 minute to 15 minute walk/ride is ideal....next would be a 30 minute bus/train ride, then the Gawdaful car drive of any amount of time....in that order......

    I put the train/bus before the car because it is nice to read the paper, catch a bite to eat or snooze for a few minutes before the chaos of the day....or after the day....and to let someone else do the driving for once...... Car/Van pools can be a headache, since people in the car seem to always feel it is their duty to talk all the time and not just chill out
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  4. #29
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    I'd like to say my ideal commute involves walking and/or cycling, but Vancouver has a penchant for rain. A lot of the year I would enjoy the walking and cycling but some of the year I would want reliable transit. Ideal commute? 25-30 min each way, walking.

  5. #30
    Member Nor Cal Planner Girl's avatar
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    I am 5 minutes from work- by car (WOW!- sooo very cool), 25 minutes on foot and 15 minutes on bycycle.... the last two cause me to have to negotiate a huge amount of traffic where lots o' people have been hit... just gotta watch out for those damn drivers

  6. #31
    Cyburbian Boru's avatar
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    I remember a hazy day in college where I was given a handout regarding the amount of energy certain types of transport use, and at which point it is more efficient to switch from one to another, an example ( and this is off the top of my head) would be that it is only energy efficient to walk 1 mile. From 1-4 miles a bike is most efficient, a bus from 4-7 miles, train etc etc. The point (I think) is that using different modes of transport outside the optimum point of energy efficiency is a waste of energy and effort. It is a different way of looking at the best modes of transport for different commuting lengths. The car wasnt left out either. It was energy efficient at certain points too. I can find it if you would like. Or I can burn it if you think its too wacky. Then it wont be allowed to corrupt peoples minds.

    As for the perfect commute, I'm very dissapointed that all of the 1930's garden city ideals of everybody having a one-person helicopter in the garage didnt pan out. Grrr.

  7. #32
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wulf9
    You can't find an ideal commute because the commute is secondary to decisions on where to live and where to work. People make those choices, then look at the commute and evaluate "too long" or "acceptable." In almost every case, it will be longer than they would think to be ideal -- but that wasn't the basis of the decision.
    When shopping for our condo last year, the commute was primary on or list of criteria. We both knew we would always work in downtown Boston and we also knew that we wanted to be on the Red Line (the fastest, most frequent and most comfortable subway line with the best set of destinations). Anything within walking distance to the northern end of the Red Line (Cambridge & Davis Square in Somerville) was way out of our price range. Everything surrounding the first two stations south of downtown in South Boston (where we currently lived) was too small. So, we settled on Savin Hill, Shawmut or Ashmont in Dorchester. Eventually we found a large place with an 8-minute walk to the Savin Hill station, and a 10-minute subway ride to downtown Boston.

    Of course, Savin Hill station has been closed for a complete reconstruction since last spring and we have had to take a shuttle bus to the next station on the line. But, oh baby, when that brand new station opens next month we will have the perfect commute.

    P.S. The commute time is not the only thing influences peoples decisions. Modal transfers, number of transfers, and mode have a great deal of influence too.

    Examples:

    Less preferable: walk to bus stop, 5-minute bus ride, transfer, 15-minute subway ride, walk to work
    More preferable: walk to station, 30-minute subway ride, walk to work

    Less preferable: ready car, 15-minute drive, park, walk to station, 40-minute commuter rail ride, walk to work
    More preferable: walk to station, 60 minute commuter rail ride, walk to work

    (I have to admit, I am a bit biased against driving. I often find driving and parking more of a hassle than walking and using transit, especially when running errands.)

  8. #33
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    My mom commutes to Charlestown from her suburban home maybe 7-8 miles south of downtown Boston, right around I-93. To me this would be an idea commute because it's not too long, not too short, and the majority of it is on the highway, so you don't have to concern yourself with lights, plus you get that really cool skyline view every morning. Hmm, what am I missing. Oh yeah. Traffic. In reality this commute blows and can sometimes last well over an hour, usually not less than 30 min. But with no traffic it would be great!

    Personally I don't know how I feel about a walking commute. I like the idea of being "in motion" to my job for some reason. Driving (with limited traffic, of course) would be nice but the stress of financial concerns toward gasoline/car wear cancel's most of it out. Trains would be alright but only if they made few stops (Boston's Red Line is about as frequent as I could put up with). My ideal though would be a scenic bike ride for 2-3 miles with facilities to shower and shave at the end of the trip, in case it's hot out and you're sweating. Imagine hopping out of bed, and getting on the bike for a nice morning workout/wake up call. Assuming you work in a dense business district you could then hop accross the street to the bagel place and grab some breakfast. May not even need coffee at that point.

    I doubt this commute actually exists anywhere. Portland, OR maybe? I heard they have nice bike paths with shower facilities.

  9. #34
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hymalaia
    My ideal though would be a scenic bike ride for 2-3 miles with facilities to shower and shave at the end of the trip, in case it's hot out and you're sweating. Imagine hopping out of bed, and getting on the bike for a nice morning workout/wake up call. Assuming you work in a dense business district you could then hop accross the street to the bagel place and grab some breakfast. May not even need coffee at that point.

    I doubt this commute actually exists anywhere. Portland, OR maybe? I heard they have nice bike paths with shower facilities.
    There is talk of constructing a central shower and bicycle facility in downtown Boston. But, that's all it is: talk. I commuted briefly from my old apartment in South Boston to my job in Chinatown (15 minute ride), but it was too dangerous (wide new streets, construction, downtown traffic) and the lack of shower facilties at work limited my choice of wardrobe and prevented summertime riding.

  10. #35
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    As far as I can tell Boston has some good potential for bike commuting. South Boston (Seaport District) is really a problem area though. They need to somehow figure a way to extend the Lower Neponset Trail up the coast line to give an alternative commuter route to I-93 or the red line. I imagine with nice downtown shower facility and bicycle station you'd get some people biking up all the way from Mattapan/Milton Village on nice summer days. The Southwest Corridor Bike Path is another trail that could become a lot more useful with a better extension into downtown. Don't know where the money to implement this kind of stuff would come from though. Biking on busy roadways s*cks.

    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    There is talk of constructing a central shower and bicycle facility in downtown Boston. But, that's all it is: talk. I commuted briefly from my old apartment in South Boston to my job in Chinatown (15 minute ride), but it was too dangerous (wide new streets, construction, downtown traffic) and the lack of shower facilties at work limited my choice of wardrobe and prevented summertime riding.

  11. #36
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hymalaia
    As far as I can tell Boston has some good potential for bike commuting. South Boston (Seaport District) is really a problem area though. They need to somehow figure a way to extend the Lower Neponset Trail up the coast line to give an alternative commuter route to I-93 or the red line. I imagine with nice downtown shower facility and bicycle station you'd get some people biking up all the way from Mattapan/Milton Village on nice summer days. The Southwest Corridor Bike Path is another trail that could become a lot more useful with a better extension into downtown. Don't know where the money to implement this kind of stuff would come from though. Biking on busy roadways s*cks.
    There is plenty of roon for a bike path/lane along Morrissey Boulevard, Old Colony Avenue and Dorchester Avenue. The city and state just need the will to take a little of the massive stretch of pavement devoted to automobiles. When Dorchester Avenue between Broadway Station and South Station finally reopens to general traffic (currently restricted to postal vehicles), a bicycle lane could be included. This would deliver people directly to the Financial District.

  12. #37
          roger's avatar
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    For me it would be anything over half an hour.

  13. #38
         
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    Stays fresher, longer--

    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    There is talk of constructing a central shower and bicycle facility in downtown Boston. But, that's all it is: talk. I commuted briefly from my old apartment in South Boston to my job in Chinatown (15 minute ride), but it was too dangerous (wide new streets, construction, downtown traffic) and the lack of shower facilties at work limited my choice of wardrobe and prevented summertime riding.
    One thing that you might want to investigate: your local downtown health clubs: especially YMCA's that have been suffering as youth programs head out to the burbs: many offer a "shower only" membership. Never published in the literature, of course, but call around, a monthly rate at about the quarter of the price of a monthly parking spot can be had in some cities. Lock up your bike, grab a shower, walk a few remaining blocks. You might also be able to get a locker so your co-workers don't have to smell your helmet-pad-funk.

  14. #39
    "Ideal" would be 10 minutes, while I'd start to get annoyed with anything that takes longer than a half an hour, regardless of commute mode.

    A couple summers ago I lived across the street from my office. Door-to-door commute time was less than a minute by foot, depending on whether there was enough of a break in traffic to jaywalk across instead of going down to the end of the block. I kinda missed having the opportunity to get out and take a stroll every morning. So I think a 10 minute walk would be ideal.

  15. #40
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    Commute time distance

    In Baton Rouge last year I commuted 10 miles by bicycle which took anywhere from 37-42 minutes.
    It was interesting because there were two ways to my destination: along the MIssissippi(10 miles) or on the interstate(13 miles).

    I wouldn't have minded a little longer commute because I got to use the showers at the university. Showering isn't added into the commute time because by car I would have taken a shower before I left; i.e. the order simply changed, nothing was added.
    By bus it would take about 25-30 minutes, because you would have to wait for the connecting bus. And the car time would be maybe 30-32 minutes because you would have to walk from the parking lot.

    I didn't mind because I did what I enjoyed on the way to school. Its like playing golf on your way to work. Maybe reading newspapers is that way for some people.
    Combine two functions in one and you you may be able to increease the tolerance for commute time.


    muer

  16. #41
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    i don't have a commute now

    but my last commute was 10 minutes by bike or 20 minutes by subway (which includes walking 2 blocks to the station and transferring between lines) and occasionally 35 minutes on foot if the weather was really nice. If i biked or walked home it was a near guarantee that it would take me at least an hour to get home because there were just too many distractions along the way.

    My next commute won't be much further. I'd settle for a 30 minute subway/commuter rail ride but only as long as the transfers are one or none.

    I did have a 6 month stint as an extreme commuter. I walked to the train in Allenhurst, NJ at 7:12 am which was a diesel express. It made the local stops in my county then ran express to Newark. I got to Newark sometime around 8:10 am where i transferred to the PATH train to the World Trade Center. I arrived at the WTC at around 8:40. After the walk to my office building, the elevator ride, and walking to my desk I'd usually arrive at about 8:55. So yeah, it was just under 3.5 hours a day in transit.

    I swithced to the ferry, which involved a 20 minute drive, a 35 minute ferry ride then a 2 minute walk. I actually didn't mind it much but for $400 a month plus the cost of a car it was a lot easier just to find a job closer to home.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  17. #42
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    I'm moving this weekend, and from the new place, I will have a 10 minute walk to work! Will be sharing a 2-storey detached house with a small yard, right on the edge of the central city. Quite a find. I'm excited because the walk to work will be flat, so I will be able to wear heels on the walk to work (currently walk is hilly and involves many steps).

  18. #43
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    Well with the new job I am 5-10 minutes from work. Depends on which way I go and traffic and lights. It is great!
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  19. #44
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    When I was in college I worked at this on-campus conference center that was a 10-minute walk from my apartment. I had to traverse the women's college campus, so there was often nice scenery (that's sexist, isn't it?) but there were nice trees and buildings too! Still, I think that was the best commute I ever had. Its the only one I remember where I actually looked forward to that part of my day. I spent over 9 years living less than 2 miles from work, which was nice. I appreciated it a lot more after I took a job that was 40 miles away, most of which was on the PA turnpike.
    Adrift in a sea of beige

  20. #45
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    I would like to walk to work on the country road for half an hour because the air is very clean and the scenery is beautiful.But perhaps no one can enjoy it in the city.Then in the city I agree with the 15 minutes walk. That would be wonderful if we could always walk under the trees.Because we don't have to use umbrella or wear a hat to avoid the strong sunshine in summer.

  21. #46
    Quote Originally posted by hymalaia
    As far as I can tell Boston has some good potential for bike commuting.
    Please help me out. Is there not a (relatively) new pedestrian/bike path project, complete with designed elements including plantings, seating, lighting, all that good stuff in Boston? (like the high line in NY) What is the name of that project?

    Our zoning ordinance requires frontage on a public street, or on a pedestrian path or mid-block alley. Now, the first project to front on a pedestrian path needs some guidelines/criteria to follow regarding that path. My interpretation is that this path is something more than a sidewalk, but less than (or different from) a public street. Would like to find some good examples of this type of pedestrian pathway.

    Thanks!

  22. #47
    My ideal commute would likely be no more than 20 min walk, past the coffee shop on the way there, and the bar on the way home. Someone mentioned this arrangement previously and I would have to concur. Maybe downhill both ways while we're dreaming.

    Currently, my commute is not so bad, about 20 mins against traffic. I live in the inner city, and commute to the bedroom community small town for work. Just enough time for breakfast: coffee, a smoke, and some loud tunes to wake me up.
    Would be nice to walk and/or bike though, and to go home for lunch hour.

  23. #48
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by PlacesForPeople
    Please help me out. Is there not a (relatively) new pedestrian/bike path project, complete with designed elements including plantings, seating, lighting, all that good stuff in Boston? (like the high line in NY) What is the name of that project?
    I believe you are referring to the Rose Kennedy Greenway (gag me). This is a disconnected group of planned parks that will sit in the middle of a six-lane (four general purpose and four parking) boulevard between cross streets and ramps leading to the new I-93 expressway below ("The Big Dig"). It is not one continuous path. Some bicycle and pedestrian improvements have been made in the South Bay area of the city along the Fort Point channel and more are proposed, but nothing significant has been built yet. The largest proposal is a multi-use path from Ruggles Station on the Orange Line along Melnea Cass Boulevard to the Fort Point Channel paths. This would connect Roxbury, a land-locked, lower-income, inner-city community with the waterfront and the South Station area downtown.

    The last three pedestrian/bike paths built in the Boston region include:

    -the Minuteman Man Commuter Path that runs from Alewife Station at the end of the Red Line to the northwestern suburbs,

    -the Southwest Corridor Park, which sits above and beside the Orange Line from Back Bay Station to Forest Hills Station in Jamaica Plain, and

    - the Somerville Community Path which runs through parts of central Somerville and will eventually connect Alewife Station and Lechmere Station in East Cambridge.

  24. #49
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by PlacesForPeople
    Our zoning ordinance requires frontage on a public street, or on a pedestrian path or mid-block alley. Now, the first project to front on a pedestrian path needs some guidelines/criteria to follow regarding that path. My interpretation is that this path is something more than a sidewalk, but less than (or different from) a public street. Would like to find some good examples of this type of pedestrian pathway.
    The Somerville Community Path in the City of Somerville, Massachusetts would meet your qualifications. See: http://www.pathfriends.org/scp/

    Also, take a look at the Southwest Corridor Park segment through Back Bay in the City of Boston. See: http://ksgaccman.harvard.edu/hotc/di...e.asp?id=11436

  25. #50
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    In the London Megaplopolis

    aka airstrip one, commutes of 1 to 1.5 hours (each way) are the norm, rather than the exception. A few commute from entirely different parts of the country but usually not every day. In the days before 'new men', many professionals had pied-a-terres in town for stopping over 2-3 nights a week.

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