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One Giant Step for the Pedestrian Kind

October 19, 2010


Erica Martin is a contributor for 8 Goes Green.

Life as a pedestrian in Columbia can be, well, hazardous. Safe crosswalks can be hard to come by and even when the little ghost man has mercy and beckons you to cross, another traffic light points a green arrow right in your direction. Sure pedestrians are supposed to have the right of way, but who really wants to engage in a staring contest with the grill of a Ford-F150? Not me.

Such was life my first two years in Columbia. Things only got worse when I moved to South Providence where the only thing connecting me to the world beyond my house was a crowded bus route my community shared with two other apartment complexes.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve bemoaned my luck for not having a car – who would have thought it would be so necessary in a college town? And better yet, how in the world could a city that is built around a major university be devoid of something as simple as sidewalks? Eventually I joined the real world and got a car, and yes, life was much, much easier.

I have to say I truly avoid pedestrian activity in my area. It just doesn’t seem safe to walk in the shoulder as people fly down South Providence (seriously people, Wal-Mart isn’t going anywhere- slow down!) and having a car makes it SO easy to get around.  However, my conscious nags at me every time I turn the keys to start up my burbling, emissions spitting chariot to drive somewhere in 5 minutes that would take 10-15 minutes to walk.

So imagine my delight to see that, finally, people are hard at work building a big, beautiful sidewalk connecting pedestrians on South Providence to the rest of the world. Ok, I exaggerate, but you get what I mean.

I decided I would try out the new route and walk to the grocery store, to see if I can reawaken the pedestrian in me.

I’ll have a video blog up in a bit that details my experience. In the meantime, here’s a sneak preview of my sidewalk journey with my room mate.

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