Urban vs. Suburban Trip Generation

Urban vs. Suburban Trip Generation

I agree with Evan’s discussion of trip generation rates when you live in Urban vs. Suburban areas.  The fear of development and density in White Flint seems to continue to revolve around traffic concerns, and yet if the area is planned in a way to make it feel safe and accessible to pedestrians and bikers then traffic will be alleviated not increased.

I think a perfect case in point is my own change in trip generation when I moved from Grosvenor to
Bethesda.  For me, an average weekend in Grosvenor consisted of at least 4 car trips (to the gym Saturday and Sunday (2), 1 to the grocery store, 1 to a friend’s house or other location on Saturday evening). I say at least 4, however if I’m honest with myself even though I lived about 200 yards from the metro I never used it for my daily activities because if I was heading into White Flint it didn’t feel easy or safe to walk around after getting out of the metro anyway.

This past weekend, living in
Bethesda, I took 9 trips and got into the car for only 2 of them.  I drove to Home Depot in Aspen Hill because it would have taken me all day to get there by bus and to my friend’s house in the suburbs on Saturday night. For the rest of my trips I was easily able to walk to my destination: the grocery store, the gym, the paint store, CVS, 9:30 club on Friday (I walked to the metro), and a local café.  Even better, as opposed to when I lived in Grosvenor, I was never frustrated by the traffic on Rockville Pike.

If White Flint is planned in a way where it feels more urban and pleasant, I think that people will be encouraged to change their behavior and get in the car less often, resulting in fewer trips and less traffic.

Thanks Evan!



One comment

Barnaby Zall

Alison Mosle’s post includes an interesting point not highlighted in the Sector Plan, but brought up in the Advisory Group’s September 08 Report: a feeling of safety, particularly at night, is critical to a walkable community. If you’re near the Metro, but don’t feel safe using it, you won’t use it. The Advisory Group report said, on P. 9:

Public Safety and Vibrant Streetscapes
Public safety is an important part of urban design and vibrant streetscapes are an important element of safety-oriented design. The Advisory Group recommends that the Sector Plan encourage the presence of people on the street, design elements which emphasize and enhance public safety, public lighting, and other safety-related elements.

Barnaby Zall

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