With gas above $4 a gallon, and with no reason to expect a substantial drop any time soon, suddenly it’s not just a handful of pedestrian-advocate whackos like me arguing that we’ve got to make our city usable to folks who aren’t in cars. “Daily Progress Correspondent” (?) Sharon Fitzgerald writes about how dangerous it is to move around town on foot, especially in a dozen key locations around town. VDOT, the county, and ACCT have come up with that list of spots badly in need of improvements, and that includes areas along Rio and Hydraulic, Commonwealth Drive, South Pantops Drive, and the entirety of route 29, among others. There have been 57 car/pedestrian accidents in Albemarle in the past couple of years, with two deaths.
If you doubt that the city (especially the urban ring) is badly planned for pedestrians, recall what’s gone through your mind when you see somebody walking along 29N or, worse yet, trying to cross it: Is her car broken down? Is she OK? Is it safe for him to be pushing that stroller here? Between dangerously curved intersections and shopping centers surrounded by a moat of blacktop, we’ve got an enormous amount of infrastructure that’s just not compatible with the increasing cost of fuel.