Comment of the Day: Why Walk, When You Can Drive?

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHY WALK, WHEN YOU CAN DRIVE? “If I live in a ‘walkable’ neighborhood I have access to a couple of restaurants and maybe a couple of services but with my CAR I have access to THOUSANDS of restaurants, services, venues, malls, etc. without having to use the same one twice . . . Why would I give a sh*t about a ‘walkable’ neighborhood?!?!??!?” [commonsense, commenting on Apartment Building Replacing Tavern on Gray Won’t Have Any Retail, But Really Wants To Hug the Street Anyway]

37 Comment

  • I like both walking and driving and the strengths they both bring to the experience. Walkable is rad because you can celebrate the date and stop in for a quick shot and then mosey on down the sidewalk and space out on the different leaf shapes.

  • Because of rising gas prices and obesity rates? :-)

    Let’s face it…cars make people fat.

  • “From Angeli Wahlstedt:
    Because of rising gas prices and obesity rates? :-)
    Let’s face it…cars make people fat.
    April 22, 2011 at 6:17 pm”

    That’s about the most idiotic statement I’ve heard man. Speaking as a person that runs daily and walks or bikes nearly everywhere in my neighborhood, riding in a car never made anyone fat.
    Crappy eating habits have contributed more to a society of obesity than cars ever could.

  • Last year, I successfully completed a personal project to eat at 50 new restaurants/bars/coffeeshps a month that I’d never been to before—600 new places total—and I did it all without a car. There are parts of Houston that you might be able to learn something from.

    If you still can’t imagine why you would ” give a sh*t about a ‘walkable’ neighborhood?!?!??!?”, please go live in a suburb. That’s why baby Jesus invented them.

  • Go Sid!

  • This has to be a troll.

    Because I can go to awesome restaurants and not worry about parking?

    Because I can get bombed at the corner bar and not worry about how to get home?

    Because I can get bombed at home and run out (literally) for munchies in the middle of the night?

  • If you live in a walkable neighborhood (Hello, Montrose… I can walk to MUCH more than ‘a couple of services’), then you have access to close by stuff — *AND* you can still drive to Outback, Denny’s, TGI Fridays, and all the other nasty burb staples.

  • Some just aren’t happy unless they can drive 25 miles to go to some tacky restaurant and use the coupons I guess.

  • Has anyone tried walking more than a couple of blocks in Houston between June and September? I can barely ride my bike to the local grocery store. If you notice, even outdoor seating at bars and restaurants are empty during this period.

  • Yes, you can smell the people that live in walkable neighborhoods a mile away.

  • Has anyone tried walking more than a couple of blocks in Houston between June and September?

    Yes, its not the most pleasant, but if you stay out the direct sunlight as much as possible its bearable. And if you aren’t walking on concrete or black top, its really not that bad. Always carry water with you though. I’d still rather run and bike in 100F than 20F.

  • Pretty soon the gas to get to dinner will cost more than the dinner itself.

  • @James

    It is a troll. They are intentionally missing the point to get attention.

  • Though I like being able to walk from place to place myself, I don’t see why all of these “walkable neighborhoods” people have an air of smugness to their responses.

    Case in point:

    “Some just aren’t happy unless they can drive 25 miles to go to some tacky restaurant and use the coupons I guess.”


    “…you can still drive to Outback, Denny’s, TGI Fridays, and all the other nasty burb staples.”

    Yes…because a preference of driving means you only eat at Chili’s and own a Suburban. The urban snobs, more often than not, come across as worse than the suburbanites that they despise so much.

  • Hello Montrose
    your smugness is really nasty.



  • @Really

    Point taken, but does the attitude of Commonsense seem any better than the smugness of walkable proponents?


    What tax bracket do you assume is asking for the walkable neighborhoods? I’ll bet if you look at the demographics that the majority of the people are 28% and up. Incidentally those groups are also paying for the roads too.

  • Quite the contrary… People in the upper tax brackets own decent cars and valet them at places they do go. It’s the people in the 0% tax bracket that always push “walkable” neighborhoods because #1 they have no concept of cost/benefit to someone who actually has money to develop a project and #2 it’s hard to cart groceries on a Schwinn.

  • Well if you say it, it must be true!

  • You know what’s a walkable neighborhood in Houston? Downtown. Because there are air-conditioned tunnels there.

    If you want to put an air conditioned tunnel down the length of West Gray, well, alright.

  • hellloooo!
    we are not a walkable city. it is too hot, and too humid!
    we dont live on top of each other like they do in other walkable cities like NY, Chi, Boston.
    we do not have the popluation density period. no matter how much all the transplant yankees here want to make it like your over taxed, over crowded former homes, it “ain’t” going to happen.
    these trains are just bureaucratic, libeal, white elephants!

  • Okay, so Houston is a litle unwalkable in the summer, but it is walkable the rest of the year. Don’t forget that most cities in the north are pretty unwalkable in the winter — especially when there’s a foot of snow, and these 2-foot-high banks of snow along streets created by snow plows that make street-crossing impossible.

  • Wow. So much incredible misinformation in this thread (especially from commonsense, who seems to have invented his own reality, and lives in it.)

    Some people prefer neighborhoods that they can walk in. Some prefer to drive. Fine. To each his or her own.

    One can, however, make a strong argument that walkable neighborhoods are more sustainable in the long run. They rely less on a finite and quickly dwindling resource (oil.) They also do less damage to the environment, for three reasons: 1. people in dense urban areas don’t drive as much and so pollute less, 2. people in dense urban areas tend to live in smaller, less resource-hungry homes, and 3. people in dense urban areas tend to share resources with their neighbors more (i.e. if you live in a townhome or apartment building, it takes less energy to condition your space because you share walls.)

    I don’t care much that people might want to live in large suburban houses and drive large, low-efficiency cars. It does strike me as unsustainable and short sighted–and it seems like the people who advocate for these things become very defensive and use inaccurate information to support their positions. But that’s their right, of course.

    One thing that commonsense said does need correcting, however. Houses in my walkable inner-loop neighborhood routinely sell for over $500,000, some over $1,000,000. And the strongest advocates for maintaining neighborhood walkability are the high-tax bracket folks who live in these smaller but expensive houses. They drive nice cars and they valet. But they also believe in urban density.

  • If these “walkable” cities are so great, why are people flocking to cities like Houston? The population of the “walkable” cities has either flatlined or is in decline.

    If some of you want to put your money where your mouths are and develop walkable neighborhoods in Houston, knock yourselves out. I suspect what you’ll get is a very expensive neighborhood infested with fat-incomed DINK yuptards.

  • Sid, Who are you? Forrest Gump? Where in Houston are there 600 places, all in walkable distance? I guess walkable needs to be defined.

  • “I suspect what you’ll get is a very expensive neighborhood infested with fat-incomed DINK yuptards.”

    Is this bad or good? Will these yuptards pay property taxes? Will the economy somehow benefit from their fat incomes and expensive homes? Argh, I just don’t know what to decide.

  • I live within walking distance of several restaurants, a grocery store, a dentist and many other businesses. Occasionally I’ll stop by the grocery store when getting off the metro bus after work. I also walk around 8-10 miles a day to and from work and during lunch. While living in a walkable neighborhood has a few advantages it’s certainly not the most important consideration I’m going to use when buying a new house. There’s way too much to see and do in Houston to limit myself to the walkable things around my home. I could easily get by without a car but why would I? Walkability is over hyped.

  • I think walking is more enjoyable and you get to experience your surroundings.

    You can literally stop and smell the roses. I feel like we miss out on a lot when we drive.

    I enjoy the journey and whatever random places I may come across when I am walking.

  • Walkability isn’t some goofy hippie thing. It is a necessity for urban growth and for the survival of Houston. If you haven’t noticed, gas prices have been trending upward for some time. I will go out on a limb and bet that this trend continues. At the same time, Houston has sprawled out so far that a combination of traffic and fuel costs have pushed people to live as close to downtown as possible. We already have seen massive redevelopment inside the loop over the past 10 years. If that redevelopment is 100% car-centric, the innerloop neighborhoods will eventually become clogged with traffic. The more people that take to the sidewalks, the fewer people in cars. And that means that we can fit more people inside the loop without having Manhattan-esque innercity traffic.

  • for those of you who dont realize the difference between walking in heat and humidy as compared to walking in cold and snow, i suggust you go buy a jacket.
    what do you do when it is hot and humid? people in the north and NE live on top of each other, they only a couple of months of hot really hot weather and they have these outergaments called jackets that they can wear in cold weather.
    we are too spread out and it is way to hot here for professsionals to walk around in the heat and then go to meetings and presentations to conduct business.
    oh yeah, i can just see all the so called kickball moms dragging their kids around on trains, busses, bycycles, to go to all the fuctions, shopping, and what not in hot weather.

  • @commonsense
    So living in a city with a lot of cool stuff in driving distance is good?
    But living in a neighborhood with a lot of cool stuff in walking distance and even more cool stuff in driving distance is bad?

  • If I drove my dogs everywhere, they’d get spoiled and want their own car. They’ll walk with me and like it.

  • As usual we seem to have got into an all or nothing battle. It is possible for me to enjoy being able to walk down the road for a coffee or a quick dinner and yet also enjoy being able to drive further afield when I need to.

  • Jimbo essentially hit the nail on the head.

  • Indeed Jimbo.
    Good luck with the simplest walk to any place with no sidewalks, no bike lanes and five lanes of cars in a 45mph speed zone.
    (and all the drivers are pedestrian-haters)

  • I like when people say that Houston is “too spread out to walk anywhere.” That might be a good description, but it doesn’t mean it has to be an accurate prescription.