When I read books like Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery my mind start twirling: I live only 4 miles from work. Could I make it on foot? Could I ride my bike? What about the hills? The heat? The traffic? There are no sidewalks. Hmmm. There is no designated bike lane. The road is really busy with commuters (aka likely grumpy drivers). Hmmm…
These kinds of thoughts are off-putting and typically shut my desire down.
The thoughts below, straight from Happy City, help put this problem in perspective:
'If you woke up this morning and decided to try a completely different method of getting of work, could you do it? Could you walk there? Ride a bicycle? Or catch a bus or a train that would get you there in the time it took to read the paper? Could you mix and match your modes? Now take it further. Does getting to a grocery store or a doctor's office or a restaurant without a car seem like a pretty big chore? Can your children walk or cycle to school safely on their own? If you think these are unreasonable questions, then chances are, real choice has been designed out of your city. You may still benefit from the tremendous utility of your automobile, but the system is impoverishing you and your family and friends in ways you may never have imagined. How do we build systems that truly make us free in cities? Sometimes it takes a radical shift in the urban imagination to point the way'.