Home > Representing, Visual Stimulus, Walking > Walk in the road, get somehwere

Walk in the road, get somehwere

Originally published on February 22,  2010.

You have 5 minutes to get to a meeting, where do you walk?

(Two images looking north down Wellington St. in Traverse City: Gary L Howe Feb.19, 2010)


Street reclaiming: walking is a fundamental right

We spend hundreds of thousands annually to keep the streets almost perfectly clear in the winter. We do this for the privilege of having a network of streets that we have dedicated to automobile use. Due to circumstance and priorities, a cleared neighborhood street vs. an uneven, slippery and inconsistent sidewalk (see above) is the unfortunate norm in Traverse City.

Walk in the road, get somewhere.

If walking is a viable transportation choice for you and you need to get somewhere conveniently and in a timely manner–hop on the fast track…Safety is a concern, but be polite, be visible, be confident-it’s the motorist that by law must yield (meaning: slowing down and passing at a safe distance). US-DOT even suggest that you do it (albeit, they assume that sidewalks are usually cleared–sorry, not really.

When walking in the winter, are you comfortable walking in the street or do you stay strictly to the sidewalks?


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  1. February 22, 2010 at 10:10 am

    i am comforable walking and running in the street when the conditions are worse on the sidewalk.

  2. February 22, 2010 at 10:54 am

    I am ethically comfortable walking in the road, but cars scare me so I’ll usually struggle through worse footing to avoid them.

  3. David Krumlauf
    February 22, 2010 at 11:39 am

    You also need to think about the disabled folks in wheel chairs, crutches and walkers. What a nightmare for them!

  4. Sally Trombly
    February 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    I walk to work every day; through the alley, then down 8th street (where there is usually a car parked in my way, directly on the sidewalk in front of that green auto place on the corner of 8th and Union). I then cross Union, cross 8th, then walk down Union St. towards the post office. Most of the businesses shovel their store-front sidewalks on 8th, however a lot have gone out of business as of recent, so it’s pretty sloppy right now. Then, I turn left on State St. and at that point I choose either the street or the human trail that has been stomped down through the mess of a sidewalk towards my final destination. I do this four or five days a week, to and from work. Most days, I don’t even feel safe crossing at the streetlights when the little white, walking man lights up. Most cars don’t give a shit about you, especially in the morning when they are rushing to jobs they hate, spilling coffee of themselves. I almost get hit several times per week. Just being totally honest here.

  5. February 22, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Thanks for the reminder, David.

  6. Rob Hite
    February 28, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Wellington st.? Come on at least find a street more people use. All I see here is complaining, no suggestions, no ideas. All the picture proves is snow is white, blacktop is gray and Wellington st. isn’t high on the priority list.

  7. March 1, 2010 at 7:47 am

    Thanks for your comments Rob. Actually, the only aim of this post was to point out the lack of priority.

    As a community we have placed a high value on the auto-centric infrastructure. Indeed, there are worse streets where this could be made apparent. However, this is a high traffic street for walkers and is close to downtown. Yet, it still isn’t a priority for the city or even the neighborhood. I’m arguing for us to get to a point where our priorities help encourage more walkers and bike riders–it’s cheaper in the long run. I’m tired of subsidizing automobile use.

  8. Richard Miller
    March 7, 2012 at 10:23 am

    The issue of sidewalk maintenance and priority during the winter has been one of frustration and annoyance throughout my more than thirty year residence in the Central Neighborhood. While I accept that the streets need first to be cleared, I don’t accept that road clearance requires plowing speeds which throw snow over ten or more feet of green space onto the sidewalks, walks sometimes often already cleared by socially conscious residents. Occasional complaints to the DPW, documented with photos, have made little, if any, difference.

    Similar pedestrian disregard is caused by careless residents whose parked cars straddle the sidewalk in mid-block driveways. This is illegal, but I’m unaware of any enforcement effort to change this custom. In the past I have personally requested that a city police officer, a resident neighbor, remove his own jeep from blocking the walk: he courteously did so.

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