Great idea. Most people, including us "twentysomethings", want to live in suburban areas. But some live in traditional suburban neighborhoods that happen to be within walking distance of small shopping centers. It would help if both the neighborhoods and the shopping centers would be designed to encourage walking from the residences to the restaurants, shops. etc.
One thing, however. Even if I could walk to a supermarket, I would not. Typically I have several bags (large, multi-use cloth bags) of groceries, to much to carry home while walking. Often I have to push a cart from the store to my car due to the weight.
But I would love to be able to walk to a restaurant or for coffee in the morning. I would even walk to a drug store to pick up one or two items.
Some, maybe most, people won't live anywhere near commercial, but for some it would be a good option. I would like to see more things designed for it.
I would not want to live any where that was close enough to a shopping center to walk there. I would much prefer a semi-rural area deep in the 'burbs, well away from any major roads and commercial buildings.
Keep one thing about "walkable" in mind - a large amount of traffic, particularly rush hour traffic, is caused by people going to work. Most people in Cary are more educated and do not have jobs as retail clerks or waitresses. So we will still need a car to get to where we work. As long as we have cars, we might as well drive, rather than walk, to restaurants, bars, etc.
Also, most of us like variety. One shopping center will likely have only one or two restaurants of the type (price range and type of food) that we want. After the first few times walking to a restaurant, we will end up driving to one further away just for variety, or to meet friends from some other neighborhood.
johnshaw, Thanks for turning it into a thread. I just threw it out as an alternative. But I think that it is worthy of discussion. I know that it is not for everybody, but perhaps some people who live in homes on lots would still like to walk to restaurants or places they buy small, carryable items (such as drugstores). I see people in "drivable sub urban" areas out walking. Perhaps if they live near a restaurant they might walk there.
I don't know how many people would like that option, but there are very many people who live within walking distance of commercial property, even though the may live in single family homes.
As long as there are such situations (sf residential near commercial) it might as well be designed so that people in the residential area can walk directly into the commercial area and have restaurants, small item shops (drugstores, etc.) where the walker would enter the shopping center or other commercial area. They should not walk from their neighborhood into the commercial property only to face the back of a grocery store.
This would take some work by the developers of the commercial area to arrange the uses and by the developers of the residential area to provide a way to walk from home to shop without going out of the way.
I don't know how many people would take advantage of it, but it is certainly worth considering and trying.