Did a lot of walking today. Walked to a meeting in Harmonie Park, then around Campus Martius and Cadillac Square at lunch then to work and back to home and then to the grocery store. Loved every minute of it – being able to experience the built environment, the variety and activity of the urban landscape on the ground rather than inside of a machine at 35 mph is much more engaging for the mind and gives you a much more enlightened experience of the city, its activities and its people.
Walking around downtown Detroit is in general a much more positive experience than I had anticipated when I moved here. Most crosswalks have the newer countdown timers on the ped signal. Almost all crosswalks in downtown, and many across the rest of the city were recently re-striped with the proper crosswalk striping (zebra stripes parallell to the traffic flow with NO perpendicular marking, inset into the pavement about a quarter inch with white retroreflective thermoplastic.)
However, cities across the world make the common mistake of forgetting about what it is like to be a pedestrian in non-sunny weather. Planners, urban designers, engineers, DPW maintenance crews aren’t going out when it rains to make sure there is no ponding at the ADA curb ramps at crosswalks. An inventory of ponding issues should be done periodically when it rains and corrective action should be taken. I took a few pictures of that today. This is the type of detail about walking infrastructure that is so critical to getting the non-committed non-dependent walking population out of their cars on a regular habitual basis. The importance of all-weather walkability cannot be underestimated. That’s my message of the day.