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traffic light contrasts

In Osaka 1, I could reach a conbini, supermarket, several restaurants, a subway station, more shops, and maybe a large park, without even passing through a car-enabled intersection. Helps to live on a pedestrian arcade, with the subway station providing an underpass under the main road.

In Osaka 2, I could reach at least three supermarkets, 5 different train stations, multiple malls, countless shops, the same large park, without passing through a traffic light (or intersection that needed one.) This comes from lots of narrow calmed low-traffic roads, pedestrian overpasses, and subway underpasses. W lived 20 minutes way but I would need at most one traffic light to reach her.

(Though more commonly I took a main road sidewalk that did have a traffic light for a garage exit; avoiding lights meant taking sidewalk-less one lane roads with the occasional slow car to dodge.)

This isn't necessarily typical of Japan. My place in Tokyo couldn't really be escaped without traffic lights. And exploring various cities, I certainly had to wait at lights a lot. Still, the ubiquity of low traffic roads, and the fact that all neighborhoods are at least somewhat mixed, raises the chance that you can reach something without much interaction with cars.

Brisbane 1, despite being very different, was similar in this. I could reach a supermarket, pharmacy, handful of restaurants, and the busway station, without lights.

Brisbane 2 and 3, not so much. Brisbane 2 needed a long-wait traffic light to reach the market, my favorite restaurant, or either busway station. Brisbane 3 needs a long-wait traffic light to reach anything other than a ferry terminal or one cafe.

In terms of walking to the central area, Brisbane 1 might have been better, though it might be that the same number of traffic lights were spaced out better, rather than jammed up at one end.

So, this probably explains part of how I've been feeling the past 2+ weeks. I went from 14 weeks where interaction with heavy traffic was completely optional, to places where such interaction is mandatory to eat.




How about other places I've lived? Where I grew up in Chicago was pretty walkable. I think stop signs would allow reaching the supermarket and bank and maybe library without lights, but for the train station and other things you would need a light.

Where I lived in Cambridge... subway station and several restaurants without light. Maybe one of the supermarkets. Harvard probably technically needed lights, but on low traffic roads where it doesn't matter much. At Harvard itself the subway gives some underpass capability.

Where I lived in Somerville, not so much. Couldn't reach anything without lights or dangerous jaywalking. You could get to one supermarket without much of a light but it was a long walk. Getting to the subway station took two lights, though one of them was pretty responsive to pedestrian buttons.

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Damien Sullivan
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