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A New Commute and a Tale of Complete Streets, Florida Style

A New Commute

I recently moved to a temporary residents due to a flood in the house.  This has placed me less than two miles from the office.  Wow, what a difference.  On the first day back, I walked to work in less than 30 minutes.  I look forward to the quick bike ride commute, as soon as I can dig out my bicycle from the now crowded garage full of molding items.

BikeThe quick commute had me thinking about what if all communities were designed so that we can easily walk to work.  On my travel, I discovered many typical obstacles to walking to work.  I found sidewalks in horrible conditions, sidewalks completly missing (aargh), and pedestrian lights timed too short for me to make it across safely while carrying a large bag of tangerines.  I also saw things that I've never noticed before looking through windows — a restaurant on Grand that I always thought was just a bar, for example.  I hope that the new year brings more compliance by the City of Chicago on their complete streets policy and a formal recognition by the state Department of Transportation that there is a law in the State, too.

Complete Streets, Florida Style

My vacation took me to Florida.  My mom lives in the center of the state in a city called Ocala.  I have always seen Florida not so much as a state filled with alligators, beaches and swamps as a state filled with ten lane roads, lots of strip malls, and unbearable humidity.  So it was a bit of a surprise to see how far the state has come in implementing complete streets at all levels.  Almost every new road (Yes, even the really large ten lane ones) have bicycle lanes on them.  Well marked, well designed.  My favorite part was the bicycle lane that went straight into the brand new mall with adequate bicycle parking to fulfill the needs of people.  Now if they can do it in a state like Florida, we can surely do it here.