Some talk the talk about Metro but won't walk the walk

(Istock Photo)
By Robert Thomson
Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

In a Feb. 18 letter, a writer remarked that her daughter lives 1.4 miles from a Metro station and that it was "too far to walk." Goodness, what does this say about our nation's dependence on motorized transport and the gratuitous consumption of Earth's resources?

We celebrate Abe Lincoln's reported intrepid walks to school but spurn a mile-long regular journey ourselves, although perhaps spending equal time in a fitness den trying to keep from obesity.

But I feel her pain: Falls Church Metro stations are about equally a mile from me, and I know that walk, which isn't one I'd care to make daily, in any weather (and never in heels). Still, there are those who take advantage of station parking for bicycles, and that at least gives some exercise and spares the use of fuels for the commute. A cheap bike, a lock and appropriate attire are all that's needed.

Dan Lehman

Falls Church

DG: If Abe had to deal with traffic like ours when he was in Washington, he never would have gone to Ford's Theatre.

Our most successful Metro stations have housing, offices and shops not just nearby, but right on top of them, so people are comfortable walking to them and can leave their cars where they parked them, if they even have cars. The planners who are trying to reshape Tysons Corner are trying to get as close as possible to duplicating the transit geography of Bethesda, Ballston or Court House.

Standards vary somewhat, but many planners draw a walking circle of about a quarter-mile around their transit stations, maybe a half-mile in some cases. Most people, the planners say, are willing to walk about 10 minutes to reach a station, and that's as ambitious as they get on our behalf when they are trying to develop or redevelop communities.

CONTINUED     1              >

© 2010 The Washington Post Company