We Are Losing Our Right to Walk

“Let’s walk there”. When is the last time you said that?

Don’t Walk

In our suburban days we rarely walked. If we did it was for “exercise”.

Once in a great while a winter squall would come in the middle of the night.  I’d get up to take a wee-hours ramble, enjoying how the thick blanket of snow muffled the neighborhood’s normal sights and sounds. I felt like I had the world to myself in those rare moments.

Walk

Now that we live a more mobile lifestyle we are more likely to walk. At times it’s just to enjoy the scenery of whatever park or campground we happen to be in. Other times, it’s again for exercise to counter the effects of the work that keeps us on screens more than we prefer.

In the small town we’ve summered in we’ve walked just to “get there”. We walked to:

  • the grocery store (2.2 miles)
  • the local fair (3 miles)
  • the bar downtown for a burger (3 miles)

Don’t Walk

Aeon Magazine recently published an article entitled The End of Walking in which the author lays out a case for how:

...Americans have been stripped of the right to walk, challenging their humanity, freedom and health.Antonia Malchik @Aeon.com

It’s an uncomfortable read - moreso for those of us living on the road.

Our life is predicated on the freedom and mobility that automobiles and interstates allow.

Walk

Yet our dependance on vehicles is a means to an end - because our destinations are often places where we want to get out and walk, to see natural beauty, and the way our country might have been before those highways existed.

We’ve walked among Redwoods. Through caverns. In deserts in the rain. Up mountains.In cities. On a waterfall. Through rivers. In a lava tube.

Don’t Walk

While the Aeon article references Orwell, I was reminded of Ray Bradbury.

In 1951 Bradbury published a short story entitled The Pedestrian which foretells a future that the Aeon article argues is already our reality.

Here’s an animated version of Bradbury’s tale in which you can see the fate of a late-night walker in 2053:

Are you exercising your right to walk?

Run

RUN to the closest place for a great walk the next chance you can get.

3 Comments We Are Losing Our Right to Walk

  1. Picture of Nico VeenkampNico VeenkampSeptember 06, 2015

    Maybe this is more typical of american cities? I believe that in Europe, even in cities like London, Paris or Rome there are plenty of sidewalks to walk on apart from an extensive public transport system and a greater tendency to ban cars from the city centre or make it very expensive to drive and park a car in the centre.

  2. Picture of JamesJamesSeptember 08, 2015

    Michael, we are exercising our right to walk, quite a bit actually! thanks for the link!

  3. Picture of Michael BoyinkMichael BoyinkSeptember 08, 2015

    @Nico, yes, this would be a US issue. Between our love affair with the automobile and more recently-built infrastructure it’s a radically different experience to walk around a city here than in Europe.

    @james Cheers!

Comments are no longer accepted on this article.