Tom Vanderbilt on NPR this morning: Americans should be walking more

I’ve already posted links, comments, and excerpts for Tom Vanderbilt’s 4-part series at Slate about the state of walking and pedestrianism in America.

This morning he talked to NPR’s Morning Edition about these issues — and made a compelling case for a renewed emphasis on the values of walking and the need for public spaces designed for it.

Read and hear Americans Do Not Walk The Walk, And That’s A Growing Problem.

From the NPR piece:

“Walking is really as natural as breathing,” Vanderbilt says. “We’re all born pedestrians.”

Talking with Steve, Vanderbilt cites a thought on walking from philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, who said, “I’ve walked myself into my best thoughts.”

“I think we’ve all had that experience, of just taking a walk to clear your head. And it lowers your stress,” Vanderbilt says — then adds, “hopefully, it lowers your stress. Some places we have to walk in the U.S., it doesn’t lower your stress.”

As he writes in the final installment of his series, “There is not a single dollar in the U.S. federal transportation budget dedicated strictly to walking.”

Later in the same paragraph, Vanderbilt writes: “As a Federal Highway Administration study noted, ‘In 2009, about 2.0 percent of federal-aid surface transportation funds were used for pedestrian and bicycle programs and projects. However, those two modes are estimated to account for almost 12 percent of all trips and represent more than 13 percent of all traffic fatalities.'”

2 comments for “Tom Vanderbilt on NPR this morning: Americans should be walking more

  1. April 16, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    I lived in the Windsor Forest area of town and growing up I remember riding my bike or walking to high school or college and I worked not far from my house. I also visited friends and generally didn’t feel I ‘needed’ a car like I did when I was a teen. Afterwards I moved away to Atlanta and was approached with tons of non-walkable suburbs.

    The Windsor area is by no means a traditionally ‘walkable’ plan like they described in that article, but I feel like recent urban ‘lack-of-planning’ projects (say 1990- to 2005) have abandoned any sort of even modestly walkable ideal.

    • bill dawers
      April 16, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      And I think that Windsor Forest and Armstrong adjacent to it are great examples of suburban areas that would be much more walkable if there were neighborhood appropriate commercial on that side of Abercorn. Easier walking or bike riding routes to the grocery store, to a potential coffee shop, etc., would greatly enhance the area for a few thousand residents (when Armstrong is in full session — 1500 in dorms). Thanks for the comment.

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