* Update (Jan. 7, 2010): The Spokane Spokesman-Review has published a story about walkability and growth planning, illustrating its points with my accident.
Season’s greetings! This snowy, dark Tuesday afternoon, a couple of us were putting our coats on to go home. “Walk defensively!” a coworker joked. I did–and I was hit by a car.
I’m lucky enough to work for a hippie bead seller. Rings & Things encourages us employees to bike to work, walk, snowshoe, or use some other “commute trip reduction” alternative. I’ve learned a carbon ton about ways to show some love to our environment and our cities.
So my reaction to being run over is strangely positive…
I get my big chance to tell you about Complete Streets.
This is a movement of people with the utterly non-radical notion that “walking or cycling shouldn’t be a dangerous lifestyle choice.” From what I can see of their membership, locally they’re led by some pretty established and down-to-earth personalities in our local political scene. They work to make the city a place where you’d want to ride your bike, or walk around.
Amazing! What could this lead to?
- People might drive less, with lots of healthy results.
- There might be more people enjoying the downtown area, instead of speeding through it.
- More people might feel safe downtown, knowing they’re not just scenery.
- There might be more activities downtown.
- Businesses might re-occupy the classic old buildings in the downtown area.
- Downtown might be pleasant again…
That’s how it used to be; I remember. Guess we’re talking about a downright conservative idea
So, think about it. I was run over. My boss was hit. One of my coworkers was hit in a crosswalk. All downtown, all on the way to work. I could list more that I know of, but you get it. It’s not that we’re a bunch of uncoordinated nutcases–we’re just out there walking & biking. And we’ve learned one thing:
All we want for Christmas is change! Think about making your downtown safe for walkers & bicyclists. Check out what Mark Fenton says about these kinds of things; he’s a PBS TV host who’s thought a lot about it. Thanks, and happy holidays!