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The student news site of Wando High School

Tribal Tribune

The student news site of Wando High School

Tribal Tribune

The student news site of Wando High School

Tribal Tribune

Make America walkable again

The freedom that comes with four wheels and a driver’s license is almost a universal teenage experience. Finally being able to travel on your own terms, and not having to beg mom or dad for a ride everywhere.

But what if this freedom wasn’t limited to people who can drive. Travel back in time with me to the early 1900s, where everybody walks or takes trains everywhere. Children are allowed to play outside unsupervised; their parents don’t fear them getting run over by cars. You’re out of bread so you get ready to walk to the store. On the way there you pass by a few friendly neighbors, a group of children playing ball, the local mailman that you know by name.

In modern day America, everyday personal interaction is stifled by car centric lifestyles. Instead of passing neighbors on sidewalks or sitting next to strangers on trains, most Americans spend their daily commutes to and from work alone.

The isolating experience of car-bound commuters is nothing like that of those who live in walkable cities, where public sidewalks, commuter trains, and parks seem to foster interaction.

By investing in vast networks of high-quality public transportation, and limiting the number of cars that can be registered, cities like Singapore have been able to make their streets more hospitable for pedestrians.

This increased walkability is great for the mental and physical health of citizens. According to CNU.org, “Walking raises endorphin levels, lowers stress-related cortisol, and helps people sleep better.”

People in walkable neighborhoods also tend to have more friends. In Urban Planner Donald Applewood’s book, “Livable Streets” explains that lighter car traffic creates areas where people feel more safe interacting with neighbors.

Walkable areas become safer, healthier and happier communities. Our infrastructure is incredibly focused on cars right now, but with more investments in public transport and greenspace, we could make our cities better places to live. It is time that weinvest in making America walkable again.

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