Monday, April 1, 2013

Why Whitehorse Sucks Reason #8* - Sprawl

My brother recently moved to the far side of Riverdale.  I was biking over there the other night from my house downtown, and I was thinking "My god, this is a far.  Why did he have to move so far away?"

This got me thinking about the winters we lived down in Portland Oregon, and I didn't think it seemed that far to bike places.  So, I decided to do some checking.  Straight line distance from my place to the far side of Riverdale is 3.2 km.  Below is a 3.2 km radius circle from my house.  You an see how much of Whitehorse is encompassed.

By comparison, the second picture shows the same 3.2km radius circle centered on the house we rented in one of the nice old streetcar neighborhoods in Portland. I was shocked:  3.2 km took us full across the entire downtown core of Portland.  Not only does this circle encompass the downtown core, it includes many of the interesting trendy neighborhoods, several of the charming bungalow neighborhoods and even seven bridges over the river!  A majority of our tourism time in Portland was all contained in this 3.2 km circle. I can't believe how much of the community was in such a compact area - no wonder Portland is such a great bike town. And no wonder that Whitehorse sucks for biking--there are too many blank spaces and low-density sprawl. 

Now, I'm not complaining about the amount of awesome wild land in Whitehorse that I have direct access to in that 3.2km circle, but I definitely see we are wasting the space we are using.  I see we can have both.  If we made better use of the developed land (and the wastelands between), easily doubled up the density, then we would have a much more vibrant, interesting and livable community, and still have the real green space immediately accessible too.

* I haven't settled on the other nine reasons why Whitehorse sucks, but I'm sure I will eventually come up with them!