(More) How Long Does It Take?

S21Another in my series on people's perceptions on how long it takes to get around by various modes (see my recent post about cycling and this one about driving and this one that worked through various scenarios for a transit trip).

My 3rd-grade daughter has a friend who catches the school bus in the morning. I was talking with her father about where their bus stop is (and other scintillating topics!). They have to cross Route 50 in Arlington at Irving Street, where there is a light. I suggested that they could cross at the pedestrian bridge a block west at Jackson Street and it might be somewhat more pleasant than walking across eight lanes (and possibly having to dodge turning cars). He said it was a good idea, but they didn't want to take another 10 minutes walking to the bus stop. Ten minutes!!! I didn't challenge him at the time, but I went home and used an Internet mapping tool to compare the distances for the two trips: their house to the bus stop via the light vs. via the pedestrian bridge (BTW Washcycle reports that this bridge will be closed this summer for rebuilding). The bridge trip is exactly 1000 feet longer than waiting for the light. Even walking with a 3rd grader, one should be able to walk at least 3 mph, in which case covering 1000 feet would take 3' 45." If they have to wait 45 seconds or more for the light, then their added time is less than 3 minutes at most.

PedesSo in their defense it is quicker to wait for the light, but it doesn't take anywhere near 10 additional minutes to take the other route. It makes me wonder how many people don't take a trip on foot because they think it will take twice as long--or more--than it actually does.

Be sure to visit WalkArlington for more information on walking around town. Here are some other people who give getting around on foot some thought:

Always the Planner
That's Fit
Sneezing Weasel Hat

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