“a self-reinforcing phenomenon benefiting legions!”(6)

(6th in a series of posts on Lehigh University)

“Like Gadfly, I too was on the faculty at Lehigh. My wife and I have been a single car household for forty-nine years. One consequence was that I walked home (West Market Street) every day… best twenty-five minutes of the ‘work’ day. So, if Lehigh somehow promotes more pedestrian commutes, it could become a self-reinforcing phenomenon benefiting legions!”  Steve K

“Overall I think it is very exciting for the City that Lehigh is looking to emphasize the walkability of campus and reduce reliance on cars.” streets.ahead

Ooooo, my, Gadfly rushes to high-five the above comments by Steve and streets.ahead!

Steve, I thought we were the only one-car family left in North America!

It was exactly a 2.0 mile walk from my home on the northside to Maginnes Hall where I first worked (I later moved uphill to Drown Hall, and sometimes took the bus there). When I was young it took 30 minutes. I used to joke that I could literally “see” old age advancing, death approaching, for when I retired, it took me 32.5 minutes.

I “know” the walk. I know that in springtime as you walk along the trees blossoming next to God’s Acre and you look across at the Mountain greening, the feeling is orgasmic. I know that if you take the left path around City Hall, the wide steps augment a downward momentum into almost an exhilarating jog whose energy doesn’t dissipate till you have crossed well onto the bridge. I know there are exactly 613 steps on the Fahy bridge for my 6’1″, 205 pound stride. I know that in the winter about 2/3’s of the way across the bridge a wind coming from the west hugging the shoreline will make you wish you took that job in the south. I know that when you hit 3rd and New, one of the worst intersections for walkers in the City, you say your prayers. I know that co-workers tried to give me rides, but I waved them on. I know that when I stopped walking, the people who set their watches by me asked my son the UPS driver if I had died. Believe me, I “know” the walk.

I know that years of walking are good for your health. I was the second-fastest 75+er in the Runner’s World 5k this past weekend. (Council meeting watchers will note how speedily I get to the podium!)

So, I rush to high-five the above comments by Steve and streets.ahead!

And I call your attention to the wonderful things in the Lehigh Connections: A New Mobility Ecosystem plan. I applaud both Lehigh’s academic plan and walkability aspirations. No question.

But let’s keep our eye on the ball. That is not what the Gadfly is raising questions about.

More later.

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