Following up on an earlier post this week on the desire some Americans have to live within 10 minutes drive from what they need on a daily basis, I briefly catalogued what I could access within ten minutes drive of my suburban residence. Ten minutes does not necessarily get my very far from my house given residential speed limits and the number of stop signs and traffic lights in my way. For most of these locations, I can access them by bicycle in about the same time (though I cannot carry as much).
Here is a rough count of what is within 10 minutes:
Grocery stores: at least 5
Gas stations: at least 3
Fast food/fast casual restaurants: at least a dozen
Parks: at least 5 community parks, two forest preserves, one linear pathway
Schools: at least 4
Other shopping: one second-tier shopping area at a major intersection, multiple strip malls, lots of car repair and automotive parts places, etc.
Transportation: 1 commuter train station
Almost 10 minutes away (usually more like a 12-15 minute drive away): 1 suburban downtown with a public library, local stores and restaurants, civic buildings; 2 interstates; many more stores/schools/parks; multiple big box retailers
All of this within a residential part of suburbia with medium levels of suburban density. The people around me could walk or bike to many of these locations but many do not since a short drive is convenient and normal. I would guess many residents would say the quick driving access to so many amenities is a contributor to the high quality of life.