Cities are marvelous places. In a relatively small geographical space, they offer a wide variety of goods, services and diversions that are absent in small towns and rural areas.
However, cities giveth and cities taketh away. In exchange for what they provide, cities make what would be otherwise very simple things much more complicated.
Just driving to work in rush hour can produce intense frustration. Walking alone to your car at night can be a frightening experience. Dealing with traffic noise can be challenging. Putting so many people in one place often creates isolation rather than connection. Many of us cannot name our neighbours and know little or nothing about their lives.
There is very little most of us as individuals can do about the major challenges of city living.
We can’t do much about traffic jams. Staying off the streets at night does not make crime go away. Those are issues that are better addressed by the politicians we elect to represent our interests. However, all is not lost. There are some very simple things we can do on our own to make life in our city just a little more pleasant.
One of the hallmarks of a city of any size is the number of people walking around at any given time. Sidewalks and pedways are usually quite crowded especially when we are on our way to work or going out for lunch. In essence, this creates a series of human traffic jams as we try to negotiate our way around the crows we encounter. Stop-start walking, bumping into people and being bumped into by people often create unnecessary antagonism toward our fellow citizens.
What can we do to reduce this frustration? The answer is simple — always walk on the right. If you think that won’t really improve our quality of life, just consider it for a while.
How many times have you had to step off the curb to get around a phalanx of oncoming pedestrians who have decided to occupy the entire width of the sidewalk or pedway?
How many times have you had to do a little dance to get around someone who has decided to walk on what really should be your side of the sidewalk? How does that make you feel when it happens several times a day?
Walking only on the right, would make our city a better place to live.