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Friday, March 09, 2007

Walk in Madison

Madison, home of my alma mater, has been voted "most walkable" city! Wow, what award will they think up next?

One thing that really impressed me about Madison was the way the city planners allocated road space for bicyclists (and skaters too). Along the main road of University Avenue and West Johnson Street, one lane in the four-lane road was reserved for bicyclists (with another lane for buses).

Also, State Street, which is in the heart of the city, was closed to all vehicles except public transportation (buses and taxis) and delivery vehicles... and, of course, bicyclists and skaters and other human-powered wheel transportation.

As for walking, well, every UW student certainly understood what that entailed. The 15 minutes between classes were just sufficient for us to get from one end of campus to the middle -- on foot. For me, I learned the warm short cuts through the heated buildings during winter, even if it meant climbing up and down staircases.

I knew of people who walked across Lake Mendota when it was frozen. Personally, I never did that because I didn't have the need to go to the other side. I suppose it would've been fun to have just done it once. Ah well.

But at least in the city and around campus, Madison was a good place to walk. In the outskirts, though, driving was still the rule.

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