Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snowstorms and Walkable Communities

Yesterday we had another huge snow storm in the DC area, but unlike most people, my husband and I were not snow-bound and unable to get to work. Why? Because we live, during the work week, in the walkable community of DelRay, where with a good pair of snow boots, we can get to the grocery store, the coffee shop, and our offices in a matter of minutes.

The wind blasted in 40mph gusts and we had nearly three feet of snow on the ground, yet we still managed to walk the few blocks to work, have lunch in the local cafe, and grab a chai tea mid afternoon in the coffee shop. It was a good day.

My suburban friends weren't so lucky. Anyone who had to drive a car to get anywhere was just simply stuck, and the Federal Government, who must consider the thousands of geographically-dispersed commuters on snow-clogged roads, has been closed for the last four days. With the massive numbers of roads and sidestreets created by our low-density, sprawling building practices, it will be days before many are dug out and able to go anywhere.

I wonder how much easier and less costly it would be to get the City going again if we didn't have the endless miles and miles of sprawl to clear, and if more people lived where they could walk to work. As things are, we have become increasingly dependent upon our increasingly-strapped Government to dig us out and save us from the storm.

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