“Greater Oak Forest probably has fewer opportunities to be walkable than either the newer or older master-planned communities (i.e. Eastwood or The Woodlands). The older ones have secondary thoroughfares spaced at shorter intervals, so for instance every four blocks instead of every ten blocks; they were built with sidewalks; deed restrictions tended to be weaker; and they were much smaller to begin with, easier to escape on foot. The newer MPCs were designed to have jogging trails and interconnectivity for recreation rather than for transportation, but that’s something at least to walk around for.
The Oak Forest walkability problem is apparent if you just look at Google Earth. It’s a big gigantic green splotch with only one viable commercial strip running through it and 34th Street (across the tracks) as the red-headed stepchild of neighborhood retail. The neighborhood streets tend to run parallel with the commercial strips with perpendicular streets at much less frequent intervals. It’s not walkable. It wasn’t intended to be walkable by design.
When I lived in that area, I’d walk two miles to Petrol Station and back. That’s how I justified to myself indulging in the Rancor Burger. But then . . . you have to understand that I am insane. Not as profoundly insane as the Art Guys, but I’m the sort of person that will walk alone from Montrose to Bellaire and back via the TMC from between 10PM and 3AM for no particular reason. Normal, sane people aren’t gonna walk like I walk.
But don’t get me wrong. I suspect that Greater Oak Forest’s relative lack of walkability or mixed-use potentials is part of what draws the big money in. They prefer it to be insulated from the urban core physically, aesthetically, and demographically. If you own property there, you will prosper. [TheNiche, commenting on Comment of the Day: The Drive for Oak Forest Retail]