Still good advice

“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.”

– Soren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher, 1813-1855.

I found this quote at the beginning of a book, “Cities for People” by Jan Gehl. Gehl is a Danish architect who is the guru of livable, walkable and bike friendly city design. Copenhagen is one of the most walkable and bikable cities in the world. His books are not so easy to come by so I am thankful for inter-library loan services and greatly look forward to reading this and his earlier work “Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space.”

We would like to see more people walking and bicycling in our community, not only for their own health but for the health of our community. But people need to feel safe and roadways must be designed or retrofitted to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. People will not walk or bike if it’s not safe.

On our field trip yesterday during the Pedestrian Safety Workshop we took a look at some of the streets in this community which could use some measures which would improve safety for walkers and bicyclists. We talked about bike lanes on Tompkins Street and Rt. 281. Measures such as bulbouts and medians would calm the traffic and provide areas where people could more safely cross the street. We even talked about roundabouts.

And then there was the issue of sidewalks to nowhere. Along the expanded Rt. 281 section there are many places where sidewalks have been installed but don’t go anywhere and where sidewalks seem to alternate from one side of the street to the other with no place to easily cross the street.

There are lots of issues but it is gratifying that people are starting to come together to address them. Once you go through one of these workshops you start looking at streets and intersections in a whole new way.

Jan

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