airshipjones: (Default)
[personal profile] airshipjones
I want to get input from my friends on a kinda weird question to help me calibrate my understanding of how people view walking distances.

So, here is the thinking in my head.

If I walk around the block, I think of it as having walked one block. But if I am describing walking directions, and I tell someone to walk four blocks, turn right and walk another 3 blocks, I think of that as seven block. But walking around a block is pretty much like walking the length of four blocks.

So how do you all describe walking distances?

Date: 2010-02-26 07:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think in terms of landmarks because of where I grew up. Directions to my house as a kid:

Head toward Santa Cruz. Turn right at A&W in Felton. Go past the post office. When the road turns to dirt watch for a bend to the left where the house numbers jump immediately from 300 - 5000. We're on the left across from the only streetlight.

What are blocks? ;-)

Date: 2010-02-26 07:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So, how would you describe that in terms of distance?

Date: 2010-02-26 07:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'd describe it in terms of time.

Distance is a difficult thing for me to gauge... but distance is easy. On foot it's 10 minutes from A&W to the house if I'm not reading a book along the way.

Date: 2010-02-26 09:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
But time based on what? not everyone walks the same speed, and I find since I've been walking with a cane, I've been slowed down a fair bit.

Date: 2010-02-26 08:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
'4 blocks away' == '4 block-sides away'

Date: 2010-02-26 08:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I usually think of walking around the block is "Around the block." It's it's own measurement system. :-) I don't count it as one, but don't usually think of it as 4. Most blocks have 2 shorter sides, so I think of it more as 2 long blocks and 2 short blocks.

Date: 2010-02-26 09:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is what I do, too.

Date: 2010-02-27 03:33 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-02-26 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think to some degree, giving directions in blocks is useful but it's also more useful to give additional information such as how long the blocks are in a given direction and which street names to expect to cross, plus how to know when you've gone too far (landmark plus street name). So I try to give directions that not only cover block numbers, but street names, landmarks, and distances -- depending on how familiar the person in question is with the area.

If I think of your blocks in terms of a grid, I can think someone has walked the length of 7 blocks. Walking around the block means walking down one street and turning 90 deg (approx) at the next street then doing so again until I come back to the point I began, without crossing any streets (except minor alleys or dirt driveways if present).

Date: 2010-02-26 10:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
When giving directions in blocks, I generally am referring to lengths of sidewalk in between intersections. If you cross four intersections, you've walked five blocks, regardless of how long or short a block is in more specific measurements.


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