What is your experience as a pedestrian? How long do you walk? Why did you decide to walk as your commute?
I love walking! It is a very convenient way for me to get around. Because I have the privilege of living and working in very walkable areas of Philadelphia, I end up taking about 10,000 steps a day. My job is in Center City, so I like to walk along the Schuylkill River Trail or nearby neighborhoods on my lunch break.
What is your average commute? Where do you start and finish? Make any stops along the way?
I either bike or ride public transit to my job in Center City. When I ride public transit, I walk a short distance from my house in South Philly to the Oregon Station. I get off at City Hall and, rather than transfer to the trolley, I will usually walk the 5 blocks to my office. On beautiful evenings that I do not bike, I’ll take a longer stroll through my favorite Rittenhouse streets to Lombard-South or Ellsworth-Federal Station to catch a train home.
Have you ever experienced a dangerous or problematic intersection? What happened?
While my neighborhood’s tree-lined sidewalks are pleasant for walking, I encounter problematic intersections every day. I have almost been hit while in the crosswalk numerous times by drivers who are on their cell phones. These incidents usually end with the driver berating me, even though I had the right to cross. South Philadelphia is rampant with stop sign rolling, speeding, and illegal parking, such as blocked crosswalks and sidewalks.
What would you suggest to make walking in Philly safer?
Overall, we need to change the mindset that roads are just for cars. To start, we need slower speed limits, longer leading pedestrian intervals, improved sidewalk connections, and better enforcement by PPA of illegal parking. Zoning and land use regulations must allow for mixed-use zoning and pedestrian-oriented development so that people can live, work, shop, access services, and play in their communities. Additionally, we need to ensure that our streets, sidewalks, and public transit is accessible to all.
Why do you think walking is important?
From improving physical and mental health and saving money to connecting with your community, walking has so many benefits. It is something humans have done since our beginnings and we should continue to be able to do. Everyone should have the right and access to safe pedestrian infrastructure.