This weekend I walked more than 12 miles. I did not go on a hike or a run through the park. My weekend routine was quite normal for me; I cooked with some friends, went out to dance, and bought food at the farmer’s market. What is remarkable about my weekend is that every trip I took started and ended with walking, and most of them included public transit.
Living in an environment where I have the ability to walk to whatever I need and have a reliable system of public transit has made me healthy. As the organize Every Body Walk! promotes in their videos, a daily regimen of walking decreases our risk of serious diseases and connects us to the world around us.
The problem is that the United States has more places that are car-dependent than they are walkable. Since World War II, we have planned our communities with the car as the dominant function of movement. We have separated our homes from our schools, our restaurants and grocery markets from our places of work. This model of planning has left us car-dependent, disease-ridden, and with places that we don’t care about. The solution is to change our zoning rules and continue to build places where we want to be, where we can walk to what we need and rely on good public transit otherwise.