So Pedestrian

Morning Edition ran a story this morning, Americans Do Not Walk The Walk, And That’s A Growing Problem. 

Sort of a fluff piece, since it’s not news to anyone that Americans don’t walk much. But some of the comments were (sadly) amusing:

“We’ve engineered walking out of our existence and everyday life,” Vanderbilt says. “I even tried to examine the word ‘pedestrian,’ and it’s always had sort of this negative connotation — that it was always better to be on a horse or something, if you could manage it.”

… and true:

“[T]he core problem — of too many people living too far away from the things they need.”

… and point to a systemic and literal devaluing of walking and bike-riding as means of transportation:

“As a Federal Highway Administration study noted, ‘In 2009, about 2.0 percent of federal-aid surface transportation funds were used for pedestrian and bicycle programs and projects. However, those two modes are estimated to account for almost 12 percent of all trips and represent more than 13 percent of all traffic fatalities.’

(Though maybe state and local funds pick up the slack?)

Coincidentally, last night I dreamed I was on one of those Segways instead of walking and while it was fun, I was thinking as I was using it that I really should, and could, be walking instead.

I do walk a lot, for recreation and also for practical reasons, to get to the library, stores, coffee shop, post office, an adult ed class, etc. Lately, I’ve been taking 3-4-mile walks alone, with spouse or with a group of older women (almost all in their 70s) who like to walk and bike several times per week. I’m glad to live in a town that’s walkable and to know people who enjoy walking.


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