Wednesday, August 28, 2013

From California, a "Declaration of Pedestrian Rights."

Mission Pedestrian works for a "walkable, livable" Santa Cruz, California.

Mission Pedestrian is an organization of residents, business people, and neighbors who live and work in Santa Cruz. We support safe, comprehensive, convenient, accessible and attractive pedestrian travel ways.

We believe vibrant business districts and livable neighborhoods facilitate foot traffic between businesses and between homes and businesses. Our mission is to improve the pedestrian environment in Santa Cruz.

A personal favorite feature is the access report form, which occurred to me this morning as I dodged the water from a Main Street homeowner watering "his" sidewalk.

New: Pedestrian Access Report Form

Just say "no" to cracked sidewalks, walkways blocked by vehicles or overgrown vegetation and other pedestrian hazards with the Community Traffic Safety Coalition's new Pedestrian Access Report form. Community members are encouraged to use the form to report any obstacles they encounter while walking to the appropriate public works department.

Unless there really is something in the drinking water hereabouts, New Albanians are no less capable of such thinking and acting.


Declaration of Pedestrian Rights

All people are pedestrians, and as pedestrians are endowed with certain inalienable rights. Among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

All too often, people must risk their lives to walk. All too often, people are not at liberty to travel outside the confinement of a motor vehicle. All too often, barren streets allow one to walk, but produce no joy or happiness from the experience.

Whereas, walking is a healthful activity, while physical inactivity is a major cause of obesity, ill health, and early death;

Whereas, walking is friendly to the environment, while many other forms of transportation are major sources of pollution;

Whereas, walking is energy efficient, while motorized transportation uses scarce energy resources;

Whereas, walking teaches children independence, while many children are dependent upon adults for transportation;

Whereas, walking allows the elderly to maintain independence, while auto-oriented sprawl forces many seniors to prematurely leave their homes;

Whereas, walking is economical, while the cost of having several automobiles is a major financial burden on many households;

Whereas, walking promotes informal interactions between people and strengthens community, while many neighborhoods lack any social contact between neighbors;

Whereas, walking is good for the mind and the soul, while too many suffer under stress driving in traffic;

Now therefore be it RESOLVED that:

People shall have a way to walk along the public right of way. Streets and roads in populated areas will include sidewalks or other suitable pathways. People shall have a way to walk across the public right of way.

Streets and roads will include safe, comfortable, and convenient crossings wherever people would reasonably want to cross. People shall have places to walk to. Housing, commercial, and retail developments will be located so as to have a variety of destinations within walking distance. People shall have a welcoming environment. Sidewalks will be a generous width, with shade trees, benches, or other appropriate amenities to make walking pleasant.

People shall have a well-maintained environment. Sidewalks will be kept free of shrubbery, snow, parked cars, and other obstructions. People shall have support from other modes. Transit systems will work as an effective extension of walking.

People shall have full consideration for their range of needs when walking. Persons with disabilities will be accommodated both to the letter and in the spirit of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

People shall be protected from vehicle threats by adequate enforcement of traffic laws. Drivers will respect crosswalk laws.

Hereby adopted by acclamation on the 18th of August, 2001, in Oakland, California.

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