‘Walking feels like a crime’

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A TikTok rant is shedding light on the walkability crisis plaguing American cities.

In a passionate video that’s garnered nearly 2,000 likes, TikToker ur plant friend vvic (@psitsvvic) vented her frustration after Google Maps directed her to walk along a highway lacking pedestrian infrastructure.

“Living in an unwalkable city sucks,” she lamented, “because one moment you think you’re walking down a perfectly reasonable road, the next moment, you have a f****** highway in front of you.

@psitsvvic like what IS that 😭😭😭 #unwalkable #vlog #unwalkablecities #urbanplanning #city #vlogger #vlogging #rant ♬ original sound – ur plant friend vvic 🌱💗

“And Google Maps said that I should be walking down this highway? You’re lying. I know you’re lying to me.”

Dangerous situations such as this showcase the limited mobility options embedded in much of America’s infrastructure. Studies demonstrate that walkability increases foot traffic to local businesses, enhances public health, reduces carbon emissions that warm the planet, and boosts the happiness of residents.

Yet in many areas, “walking feels like a crime,” as one commenter put it.

Dangerous roads prioritize vehicles over people, solidifying reliance on gas-guzzling cars that pollute the atmosphere. This impacts not only our planet but also our personal welfare — pedestrian fatality rates reached a 40-year high in 2023, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association, as shared by NPR.

Vvic’s video struck a chord by encapsulating a frustrating paradox: We’re encouraged to walk more to reap physical, mental, and environmental benefits, yet our neighborhoods make it treacherous.

“There’s like 3 inches of curb I lean against to not get hit by cars,” a TikTok viewer related.

“Yup. Pro tip, check the street view before you start walking somewhere that not a downtown area,” another viewer advised.

Such situations offer opportunities to envision how our communities could be improved. Having to traverse highways on foot signifies unsustainable infrastructure that endangers people and the planet.

As we reimagine our cities in the coming years, residents can advocate for safer mobility options that benefit health, happiness, and the environment. Consider writing local representatives to request pedestrian infrastructure that makes foot travel feasible.

Small actions snowball. With enough voices, we can melt walkability barriers to build connected, livable cities that work for people as well as cars.

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