October 28, 2008

Last week I was in Hattisburg MS.  I liked where my hotel was located because within walking distance were three very nice restaurants and I was staying three nights.  On my last day, I commented to a local that I had walked to supper each night.  She expressed great surprise.  She said, “You know, Hattisburg is not a walking town.”

Boy do I know it.

To get to the first restaurant, I walked up a steep flight of stairs, across the parking lot of a closed restaurant, and to my goal.  The second and third eateries, I had to cross a busy four lane road.  This was an access road off of the highway, and luckily, there was a stoplight.  Since I went to dinner early each night, there was not much traffic out and about.  There was not one sidewalk, or walkway from my hotel to anywhere I wanted to go. I walked along the side of the road, or in the grass, or across parking lots to get to each place.

I was determined in my walking, but I can see why almost no one else would be.  Had it been raining, I certainly would not have walked.

The city where I am based is making strides to improve sidewalks and bike paths so that more citizens can walk. Today I read about the Safe Routes to Schools project.  The goal is to build pedestrian and cyclist safe paths from where children live to where they go to school.  I think this is a great idea. Hopefully, once adults see how wonderful it is to walk or ride, they will demand similar paths so they can walk or ride to work.

I like to walk. I like the calm pace and the chance to truly see neighborhoods and shops that I pass.  If more of us could walk to work, or to the store, or whereever it is we want to go, then we would not need gym time or workout time.  Our commute time would be our workout time. How great would that be?

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