What is your experience as a pedestrian? How long do you walk? Why did you decide to walk as your commute?
My office is in my apartment, so I walk about 19 steps to get there from my bedroom, 24 steps from my kitchen. I walk everywhere else, too. Since I work alone, I need to get out every day. I walk. Try to walk for an hour outdoors.
Whenever I see a person or group with a map, I offer help. Often I do it when people are studying a phone, too, but, most often these days, they’re waiting for an Uber. I often change direction to escort people a few blocks, even if it’s out of my way and even if it will make me a few minutes late. I help blind people always, no matter what. (Let them hold your arm, not vice versa.)
What is your average commute? Where do you start and finish? Make any stops along the way?
Since I live at 15th and Locust, I usually choose East of Broad or West of Broad for a route, depending. Plan multiple stops each time. Lunch, drugstore, bananas, fresh air, masking tape, reach 12,000 steps, photograph my city, haircut…. I calculate 2 minutes per block for my average gait, so it’s easy to know how far in advance to leave home. I can keep up with someone walking faster and know it’s good for me. I am 74.
What would you suggest to make walking in Philly safer?
More people walking. The Center City District people are often in evidence. Afternoons, when school lets out, the police force is in evidence.
Why do you think walking is important?
For sustaining life. For exercise. For fresh air. For meeting new people every day. For happiness. Some people prefer trees, but I never met a sidewalk I didn’t like.
Decades ago, when I was skiing in France with my family (when it was cheaper than Colorado), my stepson bought an avalanche transceiver. That’s a device that beeps when you are under a pile of snow so that rescue dogs can find you. I told him that, if he lived at 17th and Sansom, he wouldn’t need one.