I ran into John Gonder yesterday morning, and he remarked that in the context of an auto-centric New Albany, walking had become a revolutionary act. Bicycling fits that description, too. It needs to change, but the impetus must come from the city’s neighborhoods. There must be neighborhood self-determination in the sense of us deciding how we wish our streets to be used: For people, or for cars. Think of it as Occupy Spring Street.
It reminded me of a entering the City County Building a month or so ago, and being told by the sheriff’s deputy that I couldn’t take my guillotine cigar cutter inside; evidently, it has been classified as a deadly weapon, one conceivably able to slice off the tip of one’s middle finger when held aloft to protest stupid rules.
I asked him what could be done with it while I was inside. He told me to put it in my car. When I said my car was at home, and I’d walked down, his eyes went blank and he looked at me as though I’d sprouted antennae. It simply did not compute. Eventually he mumbled that he didn’t know, but he was sure I couldn’t bring the cutter inside. I hid it behind the trash can outside, roughly ten feet away from where the two deputies stood, and by the time I came back, it was gone.
Will Self: Walking is political (Guardian)
A century ago, 90% of Londoners’ journeys under six miles were made on foot. Now we are alienated from the physical reality of our cities.