Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pedestrian Lanes

I live in the country. It is very rural where I live. In fact, most of my life I have lived in places that are too far from the grocery store to walk there. I drive almost everywhere I go. Work, church, store, shopping, school... it's all too far to walk.

And yet, I walk. I try to walk every day for my health. And herein lies my problem (complaint) of the day. It is dangerous for me to walk in my neighborhood. There are all sorts of dangers lurking. I might get run over by a car, attacked by a rogue deer, injured by an Amish buggy, or sickened by the odor of fresh roadkill. This does not even take into account heat stroke, heart attack, frostbite and skin cancer that can occur out of doors.

So I have a suggestion. It will cost a little bit, but not too much, I think. And we can rather quickly absorb the costs and get used to them. All streets, roads and highways should have a designated pedestrian lane. This lane will need to be only about 36" wide. And although it will require extra land purchases and expense for the materials and labor, it will be a very small percentage of the overall construction cost.

This change would happen gradually. When a road is re-paved or improved the new lane would be added. It would not be necessary to go back and put the new pedestrian lane on all existing roads. Obviously, there would not be a pedestrian lane on interstate or limited access highways.

The benefits would be great for all people. There would be fewer pedestrian/ bike accidents. These new lanes would encourage exercise as well. A healthier population will be good for everyone.