Monday, October 29, 2012

Our society is built around the automobile. I have become acutely aware of that since I have given up driving. Getting where you want to go is extremely difficult without a car. One of the reasons for this is the lack of public transportation, but that is not the only reason. Try setting out to do something on foot and see what happens.

Yesterday I had occasion to do some shopping. A friend offered to drive me to Latrobe 30, a distance of about ten miles or so, where there are several small shopping centers. I wanted to visit several stores so she dropped me off and made arrangements to pick me up in two hours.

The highway system is not meant to accommodate pedestrians. Sidewalks have, of course, been thought unnecessary for many years now. So much for lack of convenience. But that is what has not been built; what has been built serves as obstructions for a person on foot, especially one with several bags of purchases. Metal barriers in the median strips are meant to prevent vehicles from crossing from one side of the road to another. They also prevent pedestrians from doing the same thing. In one way that’s good, keeping people from crossing roads at any point and making them go to a crossroad. But when one gets to the intersection—no crosswalk. The pedestrian is still on his own in crossing the street and at the mercy of the driver.

In our society, the pedestrian is a thing of the past. They are not expected to be on highways. Still, there are areas in the country where there are provisions for such things as pedestrians and bicycles on public highways. Are such areas behind the times or ahead of them? Interesting question.

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