Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Walkability and Electric Cars

Seriously? According to this web site, I live in a Walker's Paradise. I thought I'd do my last few apartments:
This one: 100 out of 100
Kips Bay: 98, although I have to say the walkability was impaired a bit by the elevator ride. Penthouse living has its drawbacks.
Central Square in Cambridge, MA: 94
Boston's North End, Prince Street: 94
Boston's North End, Copp's Hill: 88. At this point I drop to 'Very Walkable.'
Downtown Seattle: 100! Back to a Walker's Paradise
First Hill, Seattle: 98
Tukwila: 43, Car Dependent. This was sort of a low point, but I was only there for a month. And I got by with a bicycle.
View Ridge, Seattle: 62, Somewhat Walkable.

This covers something like the last 13 years. I've been car-free this entire time, but I'm guessing there are swaths of the country that would find that more difficult.

My mother's at 63 (Somewhat Walkable) and my brothers who don't live with her are at 40 (Car Dependent) and again 63, somewhat better off than I was in View Ridge.

Looking for the Walk Score web site, through the Huffington Post and the Tree Hugger web site, I found news on an upcoming "affordable electric car" and a list of electric cars out now. I know what your thinking -- "Rionn, you've called for all electricity to be generated without hydrocarbons by July 17, 2018. This specifically excluded fossil fuels used for transportation. Won't adding cars to the things that use electricity make your goal that much harder to meet?" Well, yes, you make a good point. And I know you were already prepared to make some sacrifices in your energy use. But, really? I'm sure policy makers have thought about all this. It's not like they'd make a change in energy policy that would perfectly predictably make a resource much scarcer by using it to power cars. Well, besides corn.

Still, you may be better off emulating Louis Palmer (who's arriving at UCLA today) and driving around in a solar powered car. You've got 24 choices from the North American Solar Challenge alone, which the University of Michigan won, incidentally. Congratulations to them! I want to give special notice to the University of Kentucky's "Gato del Sol III" for two reasons
(1) UKY was the first American news outlet I could find that's covering the race, unless you could MarketWatch posting a German news release, and
(2) I doing an Ironman in Kentucky next year, so I'm going to start sucking up to Kentuckians. Even if (like my Kentuckian brother) they're car dependent.

Update: sorry, I know you're wondering how MIT did. Here are the top five finishers:
Daily Rayce Summary:
Calgary, AB (Updated 07/27/05)
Rank Team
1 U. MI (O) 2 53:59:43 2494.9 Calgary, AB
2 MN (O) 35 54:11:35 2494.9 Calgary, AB
3 MIT (O) 6 56:34:43 2494.9 Calgary, AB
4 MO R (O) 42 57:20:11 2494.9 Calgary, AB
5 U. Waterloo
24 57:44:59 2494.9 Calgary, AB

Note that they're reaching Calgary, Alberta. This race is sponsored by our own Department of Energy. Do you feel like they're really promoting this stuff?


nephos said...

Go Waterloo!

Well my neighbourhood is ranked 42, which isn't so great, and it would probably be lower if they took into account the 500 foot climb from most of the destinations they highlight, but I'm not sure they adequately take into account the low likelihood of being hit by an inattentive Bob Novak where I live. Sure there's nowhere nearby to walk to, but at least I'll still be alive to return

Brad said...

Downtown Seattle: 100! Back to a Walker's Paradise

And they called this a MINUTIAE blog...! ;)