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Suburban Design/Planning dreams.


Last night i had a dream in which i was walking the streets of my old town. When I awoke I had a startling revalation - Living in the city now i'm not that much closer to any of the conveniences that one might use at least weekly than i was when i lived in the suburbs.

I set out to see just how similar it was. I've listed the towns i've lived in as points of comparison - my childhood home, my college home, my post-college home, and my present home. These are all places i've enjoyed living in and would consider moving back to. I've lived in plenty of dismal suburbs and thoroughly hated every one of them.

In every instance the towns listed here have pleasant streetscapes and ample sidewalks. With the exception of the grocery stores and big box retailers all of the destinations are in a main st. setting. For comparison i've included, in this order, a pharmacy, a convenience store, a grocery store, a big box retailer (not that i'd ever ;-) ), a post office, a movie theater, and a bar&grille. I used mapquest to calculate the distances.

People still drive to all of these places because parking is easy and free and probably because there's a certain stigma attached to walking. It's not that walking or riding a bike is difficult. As i said, the streetscapes are pleasant, the sidewalks are ample, and vehicle speeds are generally slow.

Even if people only walk occasionally the much shorter driving distances drastically cut down on VMT. Why is this so hard to create anew?

Oceanport, NJ
Oceanport Village Pharmacy 0.45 Miles
Cumberland Farms 0.46 Miles
Shoprite 0.67 Miles
Kmart 0.87 Miles
US Post Office 0.62 Miles
Sony Theaters 1.67 Miles
Olde Wharf Inne 0.59 Miles

Bradley Beach, NJ
Rite Aid Pharmacy 0.28 Miles
Quick Chek 0.37 Miles
Foodtown 0.60 Miles
Kmart 3.31 Miles
US Post Office 0.30 Miles
Beach Cinema 0.37 Miles
Sudsy Mug Saloon 0.34 Miles

Collingswood, NJ (a dry town)
RXD Pharmacies Inc 0.25 Miles
Wawa Food Market 0.33 Miles
SuperFresh 1.02 Miles
Kmart 1.45 Miles
US Post Office 0.11 Miles
Loews Cherry Hill Theatre 2.61 Miles
P J Whelihan's Pub 1.37 Miles

Philadelphia, PA
CVS/pharmacy 0.27 Miles
7-ELEVEN 0.25 Miles
Whole Foods Market 0.65 Miles
Target 0.91 Miles
US Post Office 0.53 Miles
Ritz Five Theaters 0.84 Miles
Royal Tavern 0.53 Miles