What’s in a Mile?

Andy, at Carbon Trace, recently came up with the One Mile Solution to encourage people to take small steps toward active transportation. It’s not a new idea, but he’s put a lot of thought into it and his framing is good.

The idea is simple: Find your home on a map. Draw a circle with a 1-mile radius around your home. Try to replace one car trip per week within that circle by riding a bicycle or walking. At an easy riding pace you can travel one mile on a bicycle in about seven minutes. Walking takes about 20 minutes at an easy pace.

This is a terrific concept because it’s just so easy for most people (as opposed to the epic, super-hero commutes and associated hassles many people envision for getting to work). Andy has written quite a bit about it on his site. Go there and check it out.

For people who live within an urban grid, biking and walking for transportation is fairly intuitive. For others in our sprawling metro area it doesn’t feel as accessible. There are some people who have highways between their neighborhood and everything. Others have a scenic, grade-separated bike path running right from their neighborhood to the store (Tuscawilla), and yet they never consider anything other than driving a car there.

Admittedly, I can mindlessly grab the car keys because it seems easier, even though it really isn’t (except maybe when it’s 98°/95% humidity and I don’t want to have to take another shower).

So, here are some questions:

  • What’s within a mile of you?
  • What kind of roads do you have to ride on to get there?
  • Is there secure bike parking?
  • Are you currently using a bike or walking for short trips?
  • If not, what are the impediments (equipment, infrastructure, convenience)?

As always, we love discussion. Share your thoughts in the comments.

I’ve evaluated my mile: what makes it seem intimidating to the untrained eye; what actually makes it really easy for biking; the impediments to walking; and the opportunities I discovered on the satellite view. I’ll save those observations for another post.

10 replies
  1. ChipSeal
    ChipSeal says:

    I am car-free and and about 5 miles north of town. It is at least 3 miles of two lane rural 55 mph speed limited roads to get there. (With chip seal surface!)

    Sadly, my LBS is 30 miles away, so going there is often a day trip.

    Around here, we have south winds 80% of the time so it is often tailwinds on the way home. Wa-hoo!

    I do most of my shopping at Wal-Mart, and my bike accompanies me inside. Round trip to there is 13.5 miles. Sometimes I make two trips as I carry everything in a messenger bag.

    My main ride is a Giant carbon fiber dura-ace equipped road bike, but I travel on a single-speed fenderd bike when the weather is wet.

  2. Andrewp
    Andrewp says:

    Keri: This is such a simple idea that everyone — yes, everyone, not just those of us who ride bikes — should get behind.

    Think how much more community interaction would take place on a Saturday or Sunday, as people walked or rode bikes to get something to eat or to grocery shop, or for any other errand they might have …. it might cause a spontaneous break-out of CIVILITY!! 🙂

    For me, I’m trying to do this kind of thing with my wife, and getting some of my neighbors biking as well. My wife and I travel by bike to local restaraunts on some weekdays but mostly on weekends. I have some neighbors who started biking after work for fun (they said I inspired them!) but stopped when it was getting dark and cold — hope they will pick back up in Spring.

    I got a new grocery-getter bike (bike was salvaged from trash and is being outfitted with rack and baskets shortly). Hope to start making grocery trips with it shortly.

  3. acline
    acline says:

    Keri et. al. — Be sure to click the link for Walk Score on my expanded discussion of the 1-mile Solution. Here’s the URL: http://walkscore.com/

    this nifty tool shows you all the typical destinations (e.g. stores, parks, schools, restaurants, etc.) within a mile of any address (based on Google Maps).

    And thanks for mentioning the 1MS. I encourage everyone to take ownership of it and promote it locally.

  4. rodney
    rodney says:

    Let’s see…One Mile…Wally World, K-Mart, Lowes, Publix, Windy Ixme, Watch Ova Ya.

    Yes, there is a lot in one mile for me. I have done the research and all my “errands” can be done easily in a 20 minute one way ride or less. This covers a 5-mile radius.

    My co workers are interested in commuting but infrastructure, experience/skill, and some over 25 miles one way are some of the issues they face.

    I encourage those to use a bike for errands close to home then. And many have the basic necessities/wants within one mile of home. They have seen my “Grocery-Getter” cart and are like “No Way!” I say “Yeah Way!

    I will pass this info along at work and see what happens in the next month. Check back then for results!

  5. Keri
    Keri says:

    I did the walkscore a few years ago. Just did it again. It still doesn’t have Publix on it (the one near home or in College Park). What’s up with that?

    My mile gets a 63%. That’s about right for walking… if you discount ugly scenery and difficulty using crosswalks… add those, I’d rate it lower.
    It’s definitely more bikeable than walkable.

    And at least it’s paved with asphalt… whew! I’ve ridden on my share of chip seal… my heart goes out to you ChipSeal! 😉

  6. Brian in So Cal
    Brian in So Cal says:

    I got a walk score of 66% – “somewhat walkable”. There’s two neighborhood shopping centers, one at 0.2 miles away (actually closer because there’s a shorter way to get there on foot) and another at 0.7 miles away (which I rarely have a need to use). Most importantly, the elementary school is 0.2 miles away – but it’s really shorter than that because they don’t account for access via the cul-de-sac cut-through. All other destinations, including major shopping, are at least a few miles away and require a major climb headed home. So other than commuting, I rarely do any utility cycling.

    I have a cabin in the local mountains, in a town of 3000 people, and my cabin is about one mile from the village center with the restaurants, bars, school, churches, supermarket, etc. It’s a great walk into town on low traffic 25 mph streets – yet I get a 35% “car dependent” rating. I believe the low rating is because the other destinations – movie theaters, large retail, etc. – are so far away.

  7. LisaB
    LisaB says:

    The Cross Seminole Trail runs along my community in Tuscawilla. For years, my family has used the trail to bike to downtown Oviedo (about 2.5 miles away) for breakfast at the Town House restaurant.

    Now that the trail is paved from the 434 overpass to the Winter Springs Town Center, I hop on my bike (Trek FX 6 with shopping panniers) to shop at Publix or the Saturday Farmer’s market. Or, I’ll send my kids to the store — a great excuse to get them out of the house and get some exercise. My older son regularly rides his bike to Winter Springs High School, especially when he has after school activities.

    We also ride our bikes to events at Central Winds Park so we don’t have to deal with cars and post-event traffic. We’ve ridden our bikes to 4th of July fireworks, Christmas concerts and the Scottish Highland Games.

    Now, if the City of Winter Springs to put a bike path connecting Tuscawilla to the Oviedo Mall area, the entire family could ride bikes to the Oviedo YMCA!!

  8. eddie
    eddie says:

    just the other day I read a post somewhere on walksheds so I started walking to work instead of riding my bike. it was a nice change of pace. I feel like a very rich man. I can walk to the beach with a coral reef, grocery stores, bars, cafes,galleries, the movie theater. just last night, we walked to Michael’s Restaurant, a nice little restaurant tucked back in a neighborhood. Mixed use areas are so nice. I prefer that to the cul de sac subdivisions with all the commerce on the arterial roads.
    the urban design was one reason I moved to key west, and I am so glad we did. here I feel more like a monkey and less like an ant.

  9. ChipSeal
    ChipSeal says:

    ChipSeal is a better nick than “Leather-butt”!

    Chip-seal is dangerous when wet for cyclists, though, so slow down in the rain. (Why does education have to be so expensive?)

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