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Planning Commission

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Apr 01

Celebrating National Walking Day

Posted on April 1, 2015 at 12:26 PM by Michael Stokes

I decided to celebrate National Walking Day by walking to work, though not all of the way to work.  Since I live near Royersford (about 12 miles away), the entire walk to work would have required me to start about 4 a.m. an hour best left to devote one’s self to dreaming.  Instead, I began at Trooper and walked the last 3.5 miles (mostly downhill) along Main Street/ Ridge Pike into Norristown.  As a planner working for a progressive county where health, fitness, accessibility and walkability are all core values and major elements of our recently adopted comprehensive plan, this morning's walk was a first step (pardon the pun) in figuring out how to reshape our suburban car worshiping environment into a landscape where walkers have equal footing (pardon again). 

As you can see from the photos below, I made it just as the courthouse bell was striking 8:00 a.m.  Parts of the walk were pleasant; other parts were both unpleasant and hazardous.  There is not a clear and safe sidewalk along the entire journey.  I walked on road shoulders a few feet from speeding vehicles, over mulch beds, across lawns, and around various obstacles.  On the positive side I feel energized and saw things that I have missed the past 30 years driving the same route.  Over the next several months, the Montgomery County Planning Commission staff will be working hard to make Montgomery County more walkable through the Walk Montco initiative.  As I saw first-hand this morning, there is a lot to do.  Also I should thank all of my colleagues who offered me a ride as they saw me walking to work.  Perhaps they are having second thoughts about my sanity.  



Another_walker.JPG
Another walker, though perhaps not by choice.

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The sidewalk and the road nearly merge into one. Gets a bit scary watching drivers drink their coffee while talking on their cell phones driving at you doing 50 miles an hour.

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Sometimes the route resembled a goat path.

Miami_Road.JPG
No sidewalk to be found here.

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A few obstacles along the way.

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School children walking to school.  A great start to their day.

Sidewalk_pothole.JPG
Everyone complains about potholes in roads.  Anyone phone in this sidewalk?pothole.

Sidewalk_ends.JPG
Not sure this is ADA compliant

Taking_the_road _ess traveled.JPG
Even when you provide a sidewalk, pedestrians don't always want to use it.

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This is a walker's worst nightmare.  A real splash hazard.

Trooper_II.JPG
Over the wall, around the pole, through the landscape beds...

Walker_II.JPG
Just walking here...

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