Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pedestrian PA

Photo courtesy Flickr

Port Angeles is a small town close to Olympic National Park. It’s a jewel of urban design, chosen by President Lincoln to be the westernmost capital of the United States. The streets were laid out by L'Enfant, the French architect who designed Washington, D.C., according to a WPA history of the county.

Fourteen years ago, I threw my car away out of disgust with Seattle traffic. Local busses were more than adequate, and I wanted to reduce my carbon footprint. Several times I’ve visited PA using public transportation, and it’s just as convenient to visit on foot as any large urban center.

As a child, I experienced PA on foot with my grandparents and the rollicking gang of children who lived nearby. All of us walked nearly everywhere, and it was valuable to have command of my own mobility at an early age. That sense of freedom and self-determination holds today: roaming from one end of town to another with a small wheeled case in tow puts a spring in my step.

PA and many other small local early twentieth-century cities are Metropolis in miniature, darned healthy environments, and good bets, I hope, as places to live full-time.

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