Re: Cohousing traffic studies
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 2020 08:24:19 -0700 (PDT)
> On Aug 25, 2020, at 2:15 PM, Midcoast Cohousing <midcoastcohousing [at] 
>> wrote:
> Does anyone have information on cohousing traffic volume — number of trips 
> per day, etc — compares with standard traffic models?

(Somewhere in the archives is a message on Takoma Village’s history with 
parking, which relates to trips. I can’t find my copy just now. Fiona posted 
about the reduction in car trips with the use of a wonderful car sharing 
software that allows them to share cars and request ride shares.)

The situation depends on what is available in the area — buses, Metro, etc. We 
are very close to the Metro in DC and a regional bus hub.

After we moved in we found that people fairly quickly got rid of second cars as 
they aged out. Within 5 (?) years of move-in, several households got rid of 
their primary cars. This opened spaces for guest parking which we had not 
planned for. We have several people who do not use cars for commuting who loan 
their cars. We also have 5-6 short term rental cars within a block — worst case 
3 blocks.

We share shopping trips or pick up items for other people. With the internal 
email list, people post messages saying “I have a prescription waiting at CVS — 
is anyone going there?” People will stop on their way home from work to pick up 
milk, etc, for others.  Who is going to the Coop this weekend — I need 3 items? 
Is anyone going to Costco?

During the pandemic the requests to borrow food items instead of making a trip 
to the grocery store and to pool trips have increased to reduce exposure to the 
outside. This has reduced exposure for high risk people who have not had to go 
out at all since February. The requests have become precise and unique: 2 
teaspoons of cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of Creme de menthe, cream for my morning 
coffee, Pepto Bismol. Heating pad.

One person has also set up regular trips to a mail center that recycles 
cardboard boxes, the coop, drug store, hardware store, and the grocery store. 
He posts his trips on the email list and people either call in and pay for 
their orders directly for him to pick up or send him a list before a deadline 
he specifies. (Pre-covid, we had a small traffic jam in the local CVS with 3 
people on the way home from work going in to pick up Diet Coke for me when I 
was ill and desperate.)

Cohousing allows for that kind of traffic reduction because we have an internal 
communications system and we all know each other. Unless you have lived in a 
neighborhood for many years, it is unlikely that you know your neighbors well 
enough to do this except in extreme emergencies. And you probably don’t have an 
email list for your block, which makes it easy to post a message that will 
reach many people increasing the chances of a response.

Cohousing makes all these things convenient, particularly in attached and 
stacked units.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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