When my car needed some minor work, I realized that I could make good on my desire to walk more, and actually drop my car off for the day, completing the rest of my errands on foot.
It was very eye-opening to see my world through the eyes of a pedestrian. I live in an area where pedestrians are common, but I saw indications everywhere that they were not welcome. In order to encourage walking as a form of transportation, a few changes are needed:
1. Businesses need to embrace the pedestrian, instead of hindering them. I had to walk the long way around to the parking lot entrance instead of using the obvious shortcut that would have taken me to the supermarket’s front sidewalk. There was a sign on the well used dirt path telling pedestrians to walk the long way around. Definitely made me feel like a second-class citizen. Other businesses had placed ropes to hinder people from taking shortcuts through their property.
2. The city should place trashcans at every bus stop. There was a ton of litter off the sidewalk, particularly near bus stops. While a pedestrian should never litter, we’re making it very easy for them by not providing trash receptacles in reasonable locations.
3. Put sidewalks where you’ll naturally want to walk. I’m pretty sure whoever was in charge of placing sidewalks around here would have been well served by spending an afternoon seeing observing actual pedestrians and the paths they wanted to walk.
Ultimately, I believe it’s going to be rising gas prices that will affect reasonable change on this front. While personally I would prefer gas prices to stay reasonable, I know that unless many people are pinched for the poor environment choices they make, they won’t change.