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Seniors Facing High Gas Prices Find Giving Up Their Cars Tough

AARP finds that 29% of older Americans polled say they are now walking as a way to avoid high gas prices, but 40% say the sidewalks in their area are inadequate.
August 16, 2008, 9am PDT | Barbara McCann
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"A new poll by AARP finds that while many Americans ages 50+ are trying to move away from car transportation as a result of high gas prices, their attempt to go "green" is challenged by inadequate sidewalks and bike lanes, as well as insufficient public transportation options. "More Americans age 50+ are trying to leave their cars behind but face obstacles as soon as they walk out the door, climb on their bikes or head for the bus," said Elinor Ginzler, AARP Senior Vice President for Livable Communities.

Here are a few additional results from the poll that are of particular interest:

• Almost 40 percent of the 50+ Americans polled say sidewalks in their neighborhood are inadequate; 55 percent say that they don't have bike lanes or paths in their neighborhood, and 48 percent say there is not a comfortable place to wait for the bus.

• Yet despite these barriers, about 40 percent of respondents reported they have given up their car for some trips and are walking (29%), taking transit (16%) or riding a bicycle (15%) more often to beat high gas prices.

• Of those who reported an inhospitable environment in their neighborhoods, more than half, 54%, said they would walk, bicycle, and take transit more if their streets were improved. This shows the tremendous unmet potential of our street network to provide more ways to get around.

• A majority of those polled also expressed support for complete streets policies, which ensure that roads are planned, designed, and built for all users. 56% said they were ‘extremely or very' likely to support such policies, and 22% said they were ‘somewhat' likely to be supportive."

Full Story:
Published on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 in Market Watch - Also Associated Press story
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