New Albany’s one-way street grid is safe and works just fine — says no walker or biker, ever.

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Yesterday I walked from my house to the downtown branch of my bank. My route took me south on 11th Street, then westbound on Market Street, toward the center of the city.

While crossing 9th Street, I noticed movement over my left shoulder. It was a car, moving in the same direction as me, which of course means that it was traveling the wrong way on a one-way street. This apparently had yet to dawn on the driver, as she was slowing and lowering the passenger window to ask directions of me.

I motioned her onto 9th Street to get her off Market, and learned that she had come all the way from Vincennes — seven blocks, driving the wrong way in broad daylight. At this juncture, she was trying to find the Kroger on Charlestown Road, having gotten lost at the road closure on Grant Line.

The experience left me thinking about how much one sees, hears and feels while walking. I’ve walked or biked to work as often as possible for a very long time, close to 20 years. Concurrent with this, generations of City-County Building workers have driven to work; probably 100% of them, 100% of the time, or if not, then a number only slightly below it. Even the ones living close by — say, on Main Street — probably have driven to work most of the time, haven’t they?

So, to put it succinctly: How do they know what walkability and bikeability could possibly be like?

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