This is a guest post by reader Grady Connell. It was originally published on Today FM.
This is a story about the missing ingredient from both a cookie recipe… and newer housing developments.
After listening to Tova O’Brien’s interview about how walkable your neighbourhood is and completing a recent ride around Pukekohe’s newer neighbourhoods, it made me realise there’s a missing ingredient.
Imagine this, you’re making chocolate chip cookies. As you make your way through the recipe, you discover you’re just a quarter cup short on chocolate chips. The dilemma you face… A fifteen-minute round trip to the supermarket or a quick five-minute jaunt to the local dairy. Which one do you choose?
Well, on my ride through the desolate lands of suburbia, other than some surprising shared paths and a lot of cars parked on the footpath, I also noticed there was no local dairy.
Growing up in Pukekohe, we lived in an older neighbourhood built in the 60s. When mum was baking and missing an ingredient, my brother and I would jump on our bikes and ride to the local dairy to get the ingredients (and sometimes something for us too) and ride home again.
During my ride recently, I thought to myself ‘where do all these people go when they are making cookies and need to grab that one missing ingredient to finish the recipe?’
Looking at a map of one of the newer areas near Tamaoho School, there is a local dairy about 2.2km away. According to Google Maps, it’s around a 24 min walk or just over a 4 min drive. For a supermarket, there is PAK’nSAVE – 2.6km away, around a 31 min walk or a 5 min drive. But what if there was something even closer? Just around the corner…
In the map below, I have shown the walkable distance (500m) around shops in Pukekohe. The local dairies (grey), supermarkets in the older neighbourhoods (blue) and supermarkets in the newer neighbourhoods (red).As you can see, in the older neighbourhoods there is a higher number of dairies with large walkable catchments. The supermarkets are walkable too but in the newer areas there is a missing ingredient… the local dairy.
As you can see, in the older neighbourhoods there is a higher number of dairies with large walkable catchments. The supermarkets are walkable too but in the newer areas (red) there is a missing ingredient… the local dairy.
Meaning if you need something from the shops you need to drive or take a much longer walk to a local dairy or supermarket rather than a nice jaunt down the street. So, what’s the solution to the missing ingredients situation?
Change the zoning rules to allow for these smaller shops and dairies can be built in these new neighbourhoods. By adding in these shops, you make the whole area more walkable as short car trips under 2km make up nearly a third of all car trips. Overall, reducing these short trips is better for the environment and for your health too.
We need to add that missing ingredient back into our neighbourhoods, so it’s easier to send the kids on their bikes to the local dairy for that other missing ingredient.