Thursday, April 09, 2009

This Town's Not Made For Walking

Tonight is my last night in this hotel room in the bustling sprawl of a town named for the nearby estate of First Leader, outside of Capitol City. Not that I’ll have time to tour the mansion or the gardens, or to go into the heart of the city and see any museums or monuments. We are here for a job, and having completed it today, will spend all day tomorrow driving home.

I like traveling, and traveling for work is no exception. It gives me an opportunity to see new places, to do different things, to meet interesting people. However, if there is a drawback to business travel, it is the tiny taste, the cruel tease. I have never spent time in this area before and it certainly seems worthy of dedicated exploration. We drive by the signs, but there is no time for touring. This afternoon we finished up a little earlier than expected, and returning to the hotel, my co-worker declared his intentions for a nap before dinner. It was 65 degrees and sunny, and even though we’d been outside all day, when I walked into my dark and stuffy room, it didn’t seem right. Every cell in my body screamed to go back outside. So I decided to go for a walk.

Four miles later, I’m back to the hotel room, and feeling a little better about being here. This town is just not made for walking. The hotel is on a busy four lane road, with a constant roar of traffic. I took the first possible side street, and finding no sidewalks, turned into a residential neighborhood at the soonest opportunity, looking for lighter traffic. Many streets ended at cul-de-sacs, with fences preventing foot traffic through to adjacent neighborhoods (and no dead end signs to warn the casual passerby). Sidewalks were almost entirely lacking. Except for a friendly woman walking her small dog, I saw no other pedestrians.

As much as I long to see the sights, I wouldn’t want to live in a place where roaring automobile traffic is the only means of conveyance, where pedestrians have been entirely squeezed out. Call me crazy, but I like to walk.


Momma Val said...

OMG, sounds like where I live. I live within walking distance to anything you could want or need BUT-----------walking to it is nearly impossible, especially with a small child. Sidewalks end, then there are no walk signals on most lights and those that do are like a nanosecond. Really, nobody walks and then drivers have become so used to that it makes it that much more dangerous to walk at all. Then we live in a subdivision so that leaves much to be desired for altogether. I can understand your frustration with the short tastes of places you go and the want for "just a little more."

Nadine said...

That does sound unappealing. I opted for a 25 minutes walk back to my car today instead of the free shuttle bus. Beautiful day for a walk!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I like to walk, too.

I did walk today.

Some of the capitol itself is walkable.

I hate cult de sacs. Especially without warnings.

Electronic Goose said...

I completely agree with you. Walkability is key. Having lived in places where that was not and then was available, I now have walkability as a requirement for any future places I live in.

And if you're talking about DC, it most certainly is NOT a walkable town.

Debbie said...

I agree completely. Just noticed this week, my city is putting in new sidewalks and I may actually be able to walk a long 2 miles without being run over.

A little too late though, they have overrun us with houses no one will buy and struggling businesses. Not to mention the traffic.

BlackenedBoy said...

One thing you will learn about Washington if you ever spend any large amount of time there is that the Metro is your friend.

Downtown D.C. is walkable, although the immediate suburbs really are not.