Study: Most of Vancouver Is a ‘15-Minute City’

A large majority of Vancouver residents can access a grocery store in 15 minutes or less by bicycle or on foot.

2 minute read

May 20, 2022, 8:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


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While the ‘15-minute city’—a neighborhood or city where residents can reach essential amenities in under 15 minutes without using a car—remains a long-term goal for many cities, in Vancouver, British Columbia, the concept is close to reality. Today, the majority of Vancouver residents can reach a grocery store within 15 minutes on bike or foot, reports Cheryl Chan for the Vancouver Sun.

According to a new study, “Nearly 80 per cent of Vancouver residents can get to a grocery store on foot or two wheels within that time frame, even assuming the slower travelling speeds of a senior.” Residents who bike are in luck: “Virtually all of the city had at least one grocery store a 15-minute bike ride away, while more than 75 per cent of the population with bikes has their pick of 10 or more grocery stores.”

For pedestrians, the numbers are still encouraging, but come with some caveats. “Among walkers, 91 per cent had access to at least one store within a 15-minute walk. That figure, however, is based on the walking speed of adults younger than 65 years old.” When calculated using a slower speed, the percentage of people that can’t reach a store within 15 minutes doubles from nine to 21 percent.

While the concept of an effective ‘15-minute city’ encompasses more than access to grocery stores, the article concludes that “Designing cities so that people can access their daily needs by foot or bike not only makes for a more inclusive city, but is also beneficial from a health and environmental perspective.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2022 in Vancouver Sun

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