Easy living in the ‘15-minute city’

Easy living in the ‘15-minute city’

By Lynn Owens

How can we humans create a sustainable world, combat climate change and still maintain a high quality of satisfying life? This is truly one of the great challenges of modern life.

Forward-thinking community planners propose creating “15-minute cities.” In an ideal 15-minute (or 20-minute) city, residents have easy access to 80 percent of their personal, social and economic life within 15 or 20 minutes without using a car. This means car-free access to work, banks, stores, social and religious sites, culture, health care, recreation and more 80 percent of the time.

It doesn’t sound like San Diego, or Scripps Ranch, does it? Please read on.

My first e-bike, mostly for use on rural vacations, was heavy, clunky, and could only go about 10 miles without charging. A few years ago, I bought a newer, better Genze e-bike from Costco and life has improved ever since. Now, most of my riding is right here in Scripps Ranch, “taking the hurt out of the hills” while I travel to: friends, meetings, club events; banks and shops; my doctor; groceries and take-out from Vons, Trader Joe’s, and plenty of local restaurants and stores; the library; both branches of the Scripps Ranch Swim & Racquet Club, the Rec Center, and Cypress Canyon Park for pickleball, swims, and Jacuzzis; Scripps Ranch Theatre plays at Alliant University, concerts in Hoyt Park, and more.

Last year, I put 500 miles on the bike. Most of these miles would otherwise require starting up our car for short trips of 1-3 miles, damaging both the car and the environment. I also use the bike just for fun – especially in the early pandemic shutdown, when a bike ride with my husband was the best, safest way to get out and exercise without leaving my safety bubble. Traveling by e-bike, I’m more engaged in the local “scene” – friends and neighbors, changes in the neighborhood, all the local action.

And now, I’ve realized, my e-bike really makes Scripps Ranch a high-quality 15-minute city for me. Other people are reaching the same conclusion. The Scripps Ranch Swim & Racquet Club recently doubled its bicycle parking, mostly for e-bikes. (Parking is rarely a problem in Scripps Ranch, but in coastal areas with difficult parking, I see even more e-bikes than here.)

Our next article will talk more about picking an e-bike, where to buy, how to stay safe, what accessories you need, and how to enjoy your “15-minute city” life in Scripps Ranch.

Learn more about Sustainable Scripps Ranch at or e-mail