This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

Why there's no place for people to walk in Phoenix, Arizona

No other city in The United States has embraced the automobile as much as Phoenix, Arizona. And it has created some wonderful places to live. My quiet street in suburban north (or is it now north-central?) Glendale is a great example of the success of building neighborhoods to be used with cars. There are no suspicious-looking people walking around my neighborhood. In fact, there are very few people walking around my neighborhood at all, including the people who live here. We come and go in our cars. When I leave here, I get into my air-conditioned car, push a button, open the garage door, and away I go. And when I return, I push a button, the garage door opens, and I walk just a few feet through my garage from my air-conditioned car to my air-conditioned house. It could be 110 degrees out there, and it doesn't matter to me. It's comfortable and it's safe.

Phoenix started building car-friendly neighborhoods starting in the 1920s. Originally, wide boulevards and shady sidewalks were included in the design of neighborhoods, but these quickly went away. Why waste space on something no one is going to use? By the 1950s, many neighborhoods were built without sidewalks at all. This practice continued for decades, until there came the realization that people, and especially children, sometimes needed to walk, and doing it on the street could be dangerous. My neighborhood, which was built in the 1980s, has sidewalks on one side of the street, which was a compromise. After that time, sidewalks were considered an important part of any good neighborhood, so any subdivision built in the 90s, 2000s, and 2010s made sure to include them. Sometimes with winding paths and shady trees!

But most of the Phoenix that people use has no place for pedestrians. The sidewalks along 67th Avenue, for example, have nothing between them and the cars going by at freeway speeds. And unless the city of Glendale decides to close a lane in each direction, which isn't very likely, that tiny sidewalk is all that will be there for the occasional pedestrian.

But this is Phoenix, nobody walks in Phoenix!
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