Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

A New Perspective on Crossing the Street at Your Own Pace

Gary Howe has been seeing things differently since he suffered a foot injury when he slipped on an icy patch of broken sidewalk in his hometown of Traverse City, Michigan, this winter.

Since then, hobbling has replaced walking for Howe, who runs Network Blog My Wheels are Turning and lives car-lite in this northern Michigan city.

The injury has been an eye-opener, he explains, showing how difficult things are for people who move at a slower pace:

I’ve written about walking speeds and speeds at crosswalk before. Normally, I’m one of the faster ones and well within the 4-feet per second that most people cross a street. With this injury, I’m reduced to about half of my normal pace, around 2-feet per second, maybe a tad faster, sometimes a little slower. I really noticed it the other day when my pace tested the patience of an otherwise considerate driver. The driver stopped (as is city ordinance) and waved me to cross, only to lose patience as I proceeded and finally giving me a gesture from behind the windshield communicating something like, “WTF? Can’t you go faster?”

Before the injury, I was already aware of the need for streets/sidewalks and crosswalk times to be designed with a wider range of abilities and speeds. During the last two months I now have the empirical understanding of what it is like for people with injuries, disabilities, or just slower cadence than the majority of people to get around.

I know how it feels to stub one’s injured foot on a broken sidewalk and surprisingly have a jolt of pain race up my leg that forces you to sit. Right there. Now.

And, I appreciate a bit more the feeling of holding up traffic because there is no higher gear.

I also have a new appreciation for my coming years as an older person who hopes to age in place. Even if my normal good health and luck carries into my elder years (I’m 40, and thinking about it) I can’t help but wonder what the City will be like when I’m not hobbled by injury, but just naturally slower.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Reconnecting America shares a new report ranking transit connections to American airports. Second Avenue Sagas looks at the real estate impact of a subway service change in New York City. And Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space thinks Walmart may have ulterior motives for occupying a mixed-use location in the Washington, D.C., area.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

The Paris Plan for Olympic Traffic? Build More Bike Lanes

A push to make Paris fully bikable for the Olympics is already paying dividends long before the opening ceremonies.

July 25, 2024

Thursday’s Headlines Face Our Fears

What happens if Republicans win the trifecta in November? Judging by the GOP-controlled House budget, a lot less money for transit, Smart Cities Dive reports.

July 25, 2024

Wednesday’s Headlines Are in a Good Place

How should we react to public indifference about the danger cars pose to society? Perhaps a sitcom has something to teach us.

July 24, 2024

Opinion: Is Kamala Harris ‘The Climate President We’ve Been Waiting For’?

Kamala Harris fought hard for a better transportation plan in the San Diego region despite big political risks. If elected president, will she do the same for the country?

July 24, 2024

America is Setting Micromobility Records — But That Boom Could Go Bust Without Public Funding

Shared bike and scooter trips soared 20 percent in a single year. So why are so many U.S. systems shutting down — and what will it take to keep the revolution rolling?

July 24, 2024
See all posts