January 30, 2024
density dad is a reader-supported publication covering all things urbanism and the built environment. Topics range from housing and public transportation to land use, safe bike infrastructure, and building equitable communities.
I had quite the emotional week to say the least as my wife and I brought in my daughter's second birthday. I took off some time to expedite our move but also to spend a little extra time with my growing family.
The highlight of the weekend was definitely taking my daughter's balance bike down the elevator with her as we walked out on the Virginia Capital Trail together for the first time as residents. Her gasping at all the space to explore, pointing at the boats boobling in the James River and the community garden plots along the trail. We were greeted with smiles and patient cyclists along the way. Now to step up to a balance bike with air-filled tires and a seat as my sweet girl has some long legs. I am now looking at the Pello Ripple 12" as a replacement. Welcoming all thoughts and experiences in the comments for toddler bikes.
Now let's get right into this week's issue!
What To Read:
What To Watch
The data has been there for a while but the conversation becoming more prominent is exactly what we need.
The story was originally picked up by The New York Times can be read here. I absolutely love the graphic that shows states who are looking to infrastructure their way out of poor driving habits.
Let me know your thoughts below!
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What's Keeping Me Up At Night?
The word game changer gets tossed around a lot nowadays. I cried when I purchased my first car with my own money. Not because of freedom but because I personally could afford such a luxury. It was a milestone financially. Despite it ultimately being revealed later as a burden, for that moment I accomplished something all by myself. Moving to a walkable, transit-oriented neighborhood has moved me to tears a few times already for similar reasons. Unlocking another financial milestone for sure but it was also unlocking access to lost time.
Last week, I left my shop jumped on one bus with 10 min frequencies to attend an evening meeting. I arrived 10 minutes later. I left the meeting just before it wrapped up, walked to our Pulse BRT line 3 minutes away and was locking the door to my apartment just 12 minutes later. I was home an hour before my daughter's bedtime something rarely possible when we lived in Southside. It's opportunities that's unlocked that has truly shifted the type of relationship I get to build with my daughter. This move has also unlocked freedom. After working from home for the day, I now get options on how to unwind and ground myself. Do I want to walk the trail, take my bike on a spin, walk to the neighborhood bar, or hop on Pulse a few stops for a cigar? It has done wonders for my mental health simply having options and actual freedom.
So why can't I sleep? The job isn't done. Being able to afford living in walkable neighborhoods shouldn't be by chance or of temporary bliss. Urbanists who are still renting know this feeling all too well.
Surrounded by west coast metros above is my hometown of Richmond, Virginia. The crunch is very real and the reality is that we don't know how much longer we must endure it. While there are some bills circulating around the General Assembly that could open the market once more for more versatile forms of housing, for now we wait. We bask. We enjoy these season together as a family.
Til, next time cut loose.
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