Pedestrian Silliness

I live in downtown denver without a car (like some people here and probably more people in a place like New York) and I don’t use public transportation much in favor of walking.

I walk because the busses get stuffy and I can get there faster than I can by waiting for the bus. I used to take the rail when I lived in Littleton a few blocks from a station.

But walking all the time leads to lots of funny and also difficult things happening, as well as all the things people ask you once they find out. The funniest question is how far do you walk from, and for me its about a mile, which is not too long at all, for me at least. Most of them are shocked that anyone would walk more than two blocks.

I have some anecdotes but anyone else in the same situation probably has quite a few also, and I’m curious what they have experienced as well.

Downtown denver sidewalks and streets are poorly designed for walking until you get right to the retail areas and skycrapers near where I work. The 3/4s of a mile before that on the way to work involves lots of guessing if cars want to go, or if you should, as many streets have no walk signs, only green lights that people turn on, flying through.

This is a huge problem for me because I’m blind in my right eye, so I have to be extra careful when they turn. I have to crane my neck alot further to catch all the crazy car people who want to turn.

People give all sorts of odd signs that mean either I should go first or they should, leading to all sorts of fun.

I don’t mind people who go straight, the people who turn are difficult. They turn when I have a walk sign, or when no walk sign exists, then I get out on the huge street trying to cross the sign turns yellow and I’m half way across. I tend to sprint across streets these days, barring any people who want to turn.

Sprinklers! In denver for a while there were restrictions on watering, and then a ban, but all government people could still water I guess, cause the fire department had the sidewalks next to it soaked. People love to soak the sidewalkes.

Its a sport practically, to get through these minefields of sprinklers. Like something out of mario, each sprinkler has a different pattern, and I don’t want to reach work soaking wet, so I try to figure out the pattern and run through it.

The craziest thing about being a walker is stuff. Shopping for me involves many smaller trips so I can manage the weight on the way home, or I stop at a convinience store, which has less stuff. This is probably the main area cars help with, stuff.

Dealing with this, I once had to pick up a Fedex shipment of a Imac. I didn’t realize that little base to the imac was so heavy. I tried to call a cab but that backfired because directory assistance wouldn’t help me unless I gave an exact name and I never took cabs so I didn’t know. I ended up taking two buses, as well as walking about a quarter mile while carrying/balancing this box.

I’ve also done this with less heavy boxes. I got two giant boxes from my grandma for christmas and carried them about 10 blocks from the USPS office, because they wouldn’t leave them at my front door inside the key entry apartment complex.

Thats enough stories for one time I guess, but I’d like to hear what other people have experienced when it comes to doing everything by public transportation and walking / biking. I’d probably take a bike more if my workplace had someway to deal with the bike there. Its not realistic to take the bike into an elevator to the 11th floor.

Different country, but I also don’t drive.

Compared to my impression of US cities, Australian cities are pretty well served by public transport and it isn’t a social disgrace to use it. I work in a department of 25. Of those, one uses her car to get to the train station. All the others simply catch a bus/train/ferry.

I live 800m (half a mile) from the local train station, three doors from a bus route and less than a kilometre’s walk from a plethora of other bus routes that go all over Sydney’s Inner West. If I want to go somewhere else, I need to catch a bus into town first - 95% of Sydney’s public transport is radial.

I live about 5 km from the CBD. I catch a train to work because it takes 12 minutes to do so (half an hour by bus).

The footpaths are pretty good, but often overgrown with overhanging trees that the <pittable language> who own them don’t bother to cut back.

There are clueless drivers - there always are. One particularly bad corner between me and the station forces drivers who turn left to do so uphill, around a blind corner, to a light that they aren’t always bright enough to see. I’ve been clipped twice on that corner, and I’ve seen other people hit there pretty badly - all of which happened because the driver broke the red light.

I shop at a city supermarket on my way home every day or two, so I don’t have to worry about carrying unmanageable amounts of groceries. The only time I need to catch cabs is if I’m running late for something or if I’m lugging something heavy - maybe half a dozen times a year, tops. I’ve carried 17" computer monitors on buses several times.

Although I recognise that cars have right of weight, I’ve asserted right of way over them when I’ve had to. It’s surprising how many drivers don’t realise that they must give way to a pedestrian at all times. Remember guys, if I want to run naked windsprints on the M2, it’s your job to yield.

The real threat is the cyclists. Especially ones who forget that - as a vehicle - it’s illegal to ride on the footpath. There was one who got particularly upset when he bore down on me at speed one day and I managed to push him out into traffic. If you’re riding on the footpath, you’re breaking the law. If I feel that you are going to cause me danger by doing this, within the laws of NSW you have just committed assault. This entitles me to defend myself and, if I feel it necessary, lodge a formal police complaint requesting that charges be preferred. So far, no law has been passed requiring the painful death of all bicycle couriers, but until there is (and it’s only a matter of time) I’m more than willing to use these ones.

My other pet peeve is that people seem completely unable to walk in crowds. Keep left people - it’s not a good idea, it’s the law. Yes, literally. It’s the law. I’m big, I’m heavy and I move fast. If I have right of way over you, I probably won’t stop. If you move to the right and bounce off me, I will swear at you because you are incompetent. If you don’t know how to walk properly, stay out of crowds.

That is all.