Of sidewalks, sprains and society

Updated
Sidewalk talk
Sidewalk talk
ClickFlashPhotos/ Nicki Varkevisser

My lug nut mishap yesterday (update: upon 2nd diagnosis, my ankle is not broken after all! Just a bad sprain!) gave rise to a lively discussion about what sidewalks (and the lack thereof) mean for our communities. 

Mary in Portland, Oregon:

To walk to my bus stop, whenever it rains (which it does often here in Portland), there is a choice between walking through a block-long ankle-deep mud puddle and stepping out onto a 40 MPH street. It’s especially bad for people wheeling their children in strollers.

Maureen Mower:

The office complex was quite attractive, with plenty of gleaming, even walkways between buildings and smooth, flat parking areas that looked as if they’d never been driven on by anything heavier than a bicycle.

But once you exited the development, the walk along their outer permiter toward the shopping center about a “block” away was treacherous. As in your situation, there were no sidewalks. Worse, because I live in a hilly area of Pennsylvania, there wasn’t even a choice about walking in the road, as the edge of the perfectly landscaped office complex dropped nearly straight down to the edge of the roadway. There was only a 2-foot wide strip of broken and rocky pavement between the white edging of the driving area and the slope of dirt, stones and scraggly underbrush on which to walk.

I was about halfway along that path when I stepped on a small stone I never even saw and fell.

More after the jump (don’t trip!). And don’t forget to share your own experiences and your pictures of the sidewalks (or lack thereof) where you live.

Michael Swanson:

Where I live there’s a sidewalk on one side of the street only, and the street is also a county highway.  On my side of the street the neighbors know each other.  On the other side, not so much, and the bikers, skateboarders, and  joggers take their lives in their hands.

Elspeth-2322366:

In my neighborhood, neighbors have the opportunity to say “hi” as they pass one another on their way to the corner store. I love the impromptu conversations that occur while I’m watering my front lawn by hand with the garden hose, or tending to my porch plants. At Halloween, there’s no driving necessary, no need to substitute trick-or-treating with some lame “carnival”–we get in costume and start walking! Often other neighbors will have little haunted houses in their front yards. My daughter and I often walk to the store together, or even out to eat at a nearby restaurant–these conversations are often far better than any we’d have while driving in a car; the atmosphere and mood are totally different when you’re walking together. None of this would occur without sidewalks! We really lost something as a society when we decided that sidewalks and front porches weren’t necessary.

Of sidewalks, sprains and society

Updated