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.