Long before the days of COVID-19, one of my family’s favorite hobbies was to get outside and walk. Whether it was burning off a few calories around the block after dinner, or hiking in the Hudson Valley, walking provided us with a way to unwind and stay active.
In these last few months of social distancing and self-isolation, walking has become an essential tool in maintaining our sanity and well-being. For myself, going on short walks throughout the day has given me the opportunity to smile and wave to neighbors (from a distance of course), to let the sun and fresh air rejuvenate my senses, and to put in a headphone, turn on a podcast, and just escape for a few moments. Walking has gotten me through times of loneliness, anxiety, and sometimes, just plain boredom.
On my walks throughout the neighborhood, I have taken note of different issues that need improvement to make it safer for pedestrians. Some areas have sidewalks that are broken and jagged, some areas the sidewalk ends abruptly in the middle of the street, and some areas have no sidewalks at all. These issues force me to walk in the road, or through neighbors’ yards which I’m sure they would prefer that I didn’t.
I have also noticed that in areas that do have sidewalks, they do not have curb cuts at corners, which provide a challenge for family’s who are walking with strollers, wagons, or for those who are using wheelchairs. This problem could be easily solved by the town, and would provide a great benefit to pedestrians.
To try and walk as consciously and safely as I can, I use sidewalks whenever they are provided, I walk against traffic where they are not, and I always cross the street at a stop sign or an intersection. I also wear bright clothing at night and carry a flashlight.
Has walking helped you get through these uncertain times?
What issues have you noticed in your community on your walks?