Pedestrians of Philadelphia is a project that Feet First Philly has recently started. This project is intended to help put a face to the variety of pedestrian problems we face in Philadelphia, which may inspire more action to be taken. To start off, I am going to introduce myself, and my pedestrian experiences.
My name is Devon and I grew up in Mansfield, Massachusetts, which is a suburb of Boston. Most of my life there I didn’t have a license, so I walked everywhere. One of the places I walked the most was an ice cream place a mile away from my home, and to get there you had to walk along a 50mph street. While there was a sidewalk, you could still feel the breeze of the cars speeding by. Definitely not the safest walk for anyone to take.
I went to school in rural Central Pennsylvania. The campus community was much more walkable than where I grew up. I could walk anywhere I needed to go within 15 minutes, and there were not too many cars around. This was the most walk-friendly community I have lived in, however, the second you step off campus you need a car to get anywhere, which I could see being an issue for other residents.
Now I live in Philadelphia, and face new challenges. Construction disruption often makes my walks more difficult. For example, one of the most common walks I do is from University City to Rittenhouse Square, and for the past year I have had to cross the street to avoid blocks that have been closed off for construction at two different intersections. Along this walk I also often have to watch for cars turning towards me since I have to cross intersections along the Walnut Street Bridge where cars are turning onto the highway.
From my experience I have learned that no matter where you are a pedestrian there are challenges that you will face, and that we can address through planning and advocacy. Making these challenges more personal is one way to encourage more people to get involved. If you are interested in sharing your personal story as a pedestrian of Philadelphia, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.