Pedestrians, Renters: Walk This Way

pedestrian and busThe National Multi Housing Council's report, From NIMBY to Good Neighbors shows that 40% of Americans live in apartments and rentals by choice. In fact, that percentage has steadily risen 28% since 1999. Moreover, households earning $50,000 or more were the fastest growing segment of renters, this group totaling 3.6 million people, according to PedShed.

This means that, yes, many people who live in apartments have the financial resources to be choosy. And "choosy" can mean searching out the most desirable, and walkable, rental. Walkability is very desirable to renters.

So with more than 76,000 pedestrian killed while crossing or walking along the street the last fifteen years (that's as if a jumbo jet crashed every day killing everyone on board) - you should ask yourself: Are you walking safely to and from your abode?

Some keys to walking safely include - of course - looking both ways, being alert to noise, and not being - to borrow some intoxication slang - "off your face."

Or, you can adopt the approach regular walkers commonly use. Discovering Urbanism blogger Daniel calls these folks " the truckers of the pedestrian world."

As he explains:
As you're walking toward your destination, you remain constantly aware of the vehicular traffic coming from either direction. Once a clear break appears, you cross at that moment. There's no wait time, because you continue walking while you watch for the opening. It's highly safe, or at least you have maximum control over your own safety.
Unfortunately, it's not just pedestrian behavior killing people when they walk: it's also poor design.

Some cities are rethinking their design. Miami, for example, has adopted "Code 21" for enhanced pedestrian walkability. Washington, D.C. is using walkability as an urban planning tool. Other changes are evident, too. New York City permanently closed Times Square off from cars, in part, due to the decrease in pedestrian deaths. The latest LEED certification for neighborhoods (LEED-ND) gives more points for sidewalk and public transportation access.

Jaywalking, by the way, is a process Daniel of Discovering Urbanism maintains is "stigmatized and banned through a campaign by the automobile lobbyists." However, he outlines reasons pedestrians resist crossing at the crosswalks. One is that turning lanes increase the total distance that must be crossed. Another is that stoplights encourage some drivers to speed through to beat a red light, thus increasing the chances of killing you.

Besides looking both ways before you cross, what else can you do? Reduce your commute by renting in walkable areas and be aware of the debate and discussion regarding public transportation funding in your state.

So, be an aggressive walker - a "trucker of the pedestrian world" - and keep your eyes and ears alert as you walk to and from your apartment.
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