City Saunter. It is a project, a mission, a goal, a determination to walk ALL the streets in Lansing. I’m not walking the River Trail. I’m not driving to a park and walking around maintained walkways. I’m walking on streets. Some of these streets have gorgeous sidewalks; well maintained, perfectly groomed sidewalks. Some do not. Some streets don’t even have sidewalks. I am really thankful that I didn’t include Lansing Township in this project because the idea of walking Waverly north of the river scares me. I rode my bike that way once. Once. I would never do that again. On top of the sidewalk situation add in the driver situation. I’ve decided that we not only have a bullying pandemic at school and on social media but also on the streets. I see drivers tailgating others to go fast. I see them weaving in and out of traffic, speeding their way to the red light. Today, while waiting for the bus with my twins on the side of the road, up the hill from our driveway, we were passed by a car that has been notorious for not slowing down as he passes us. Sometimes I give a little wave to have him slow down. This time I did not. However, he felt the need to turn around and come back and yell at my husband and myself about his right to drive the speed limit whether children are present or not. I am honestly still flabbergasted that a grown man would confront two parents who are on a hill waiting on the side of a busy road for the bus to pick up their kids. This wasn’t within the Lansing city limits but it painted my mood for today’s walk. I specifically picked a location where many walk the sidewalks everyday; downtown Lansing. During my walk I paid extra attention to the walkability of down town Lansing. As I suspected I saw many pedestrians, runners and bikers out. Despite a section of sidewalk that was closed I felt that a good amount of care is put into non vehicle transportation; crossing signs, maintained sidewalks and cars were cautious. I know projects are being put in place to promote a safer pedestrian environment.
It’s not easy being a pedestrian. There is no protection from the elements. There is no heat or air conditioning to turn on. It’s just you and the clothes on your back against the sun, wind, snow, ice, rain, sleet, and back to sun again. You are also without the safety of a vehicle. I could be vulnerable to an attack by person or animal. That is less likely in a vehicle. Whether a person is out walking for enjoyment or necessity; relaxation or betterment, they all deserve the right to feel safe and respected.